Synopsis: The critically acclaimed author of The Madonnas of Leningrad (“Elegant and poetic, the rare kind of book that you want to keep but you have to share” —Isabel Allende), Debra Dean returns with The Mirrored World, a breathtaking novel of love and madness set in 18th century Russia. Transporting readers to St. Petersburg during the reign of Catherine the Great, Dean brilliantly reconstructs and reimagines the life of St. Xenia, one of Russia’s most revered and mysterious holy figures, in a richly told and thought-provoking work of historical fiction that recounts the unlikely transformation of a young girl, a child of privilege, into a saint beloved by the poor.
First Line: Yes, this was her house many years ago, when she was still Xenia.
Random Quote: Of all Xenia’s former pleasures, only hymns that were sung in church still soothed her. You might not think it to see her – she would listen with water coursing down her cheeks – but no, she said, the music was a relief.
|Icon of St. Xenia
of St. Petersburg
Helping to Build a Church
Review: Xenia is Russia’s most-beloved saint. She lived in the 18th century, beginning as a woman of influence and privilege and then giving away everything after her husband’s death to help the poor. Her family was shocked to see her living in the slums and Catherine the Great considered her a threat.
Told through the eyes of Xenia’s cousin, Dasha, this is a story of Catherine the Great’s court and of all of the people outside looking in. Through Dasha’s frank clear voice, Xenia stops being a figure on an icon and becomes an actual person whose sainthood is understood within the context of her history. Aren’t we all the sum of our choices and of our history – guided this way and that, sometimes by choice, sometimes by chance. Xenia’s life in many ways illustrates the fact that life can go almost anywhere – anything can happen. It’s a magical tale told well.
FTC Disclosure: Advance copy for review for the author’s TLC Book Tour
Publishing Information: Harper Collins – August 28, 2012
I’m pleased to be a part of the author’s virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. Be sure to visit the other sites on the tour for all kinds of opinion and thought about this book.