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The Last Russian Doll (Hardcover)
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A haunting, epic novel about betrayal, revenge, and redemption that follows three generations of Russian women, from the 1917 revolution to the last days of the Soviet Union, and the enduring love story at the center.
In a faraway kingdom, in a long-ago land...
...a young girl lived happily in Moscow with her family: a sister, a father, and an eccentric mother who liked to tell fairy tales and collect porcelain dolls.
One summer night, everything changed, and all that remained of that family were the girl and her mother.
Now, a decade later and studying at Oxford University, Rosie has an English name, a loving fiancé, and a promising future, but all she wants is to understand—and bury—the past. After her mother dies, Rosie returns to Russia, armed with little more than her mother’s strange folklore—and a single key.
What she uncovers is a devastating family history that spans the 1917 Revolution, the siege of Leningrad, Stalin’s purges, and beyond.
At the heart of this saga stands a young noblewoman, Tonya, as pretty as a porcelain doll, whose actions—and love for an idealistic man—will set off a sweeping story that reverberates across the century....
About the Author
Kristen Loesch grew up in San Francisco. She holds a BA in history as well as a master’s degree in Slavonic studies from the University of Cambridge. Her debut historical novel, The Last Russian Doll, was short-listed for the Caledonia Novel Award and long-listed for the Bath Novel Award, under a different title. It is published or forthcoming in 10 countries. After a decade living in Europe, she now resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children.
“This preternaturally absorbing intergenerational saga seamlessly weaves between two narratives set during peaks of modern Russian history… And in between, a lifetime’s worth of haunting mysteries shrouded in love, betrayal, secrets, danger, and lies.”
"...[A] masterly, unique, gripping novel.”
—New York Journal of Books
“A richly detailed first novel that blends passion and romance with the history of Russia…Like the iconic Matryoshka dolls that are an intrinsic part of Russian culture, the stories of Antonina, Katya and Rosie — grandmothers, mothers and daughters — fit one inside the other. Together, in this provocative tale, they give us a better understanding of Russian culture, politics, and most of all, its people.”
“With hauntingly beautiful prose Kristen Loesch has delivered an epic, dual timeline tale that deftly transports you to the Russian revolution and the life-altering crucible that came after it. Utterly compelling. You won’t be able to put it down.”
—Susan Meissner, USA Today bestselling author of The Nature of Fragile Things
“A novel to be savored...Author Kristen Loesch has created a lush and dangerous world where the truth is hidden in the strangest places. A gorgeous epic.”
—Anika Scott, international bestselling author of The Soviet Sisters
"[A] gripping, gut-wrenching, and absolutely glorious novel…It reads like a detective story, feels like a fairy tale, and strikes readers like an enduring classic Russian masterpiece. With its original, luminous prose and masterful storytelling, The Last Russian Doll has successfully redefined the historical fiction genre."
—Weina Dai Randel, author of The Last Rose of Shanghai
“A masterful debut.”
—Ellen Alpsten, author of Tsarina
“Both propulsive and engaging…By the end, no one is entirely innocent, and no one is unscathed in this love story riddled with betrayal and the far-reaching consequences of private jealousies in times of public upheaval.”
—Melissa Fu, author of Peach Blossom Spring
“A hugely satisfying read, a sweeping tale of love and survival through the most turbulent years of Russian history, while deciphering a family history veiled in secrets and mysterious fairy tales. Superb.”
—Anita Frank, author of The Lost Ones
“A magnificent, beautifully written novel set in two turbulent eras in twentieth-century Russian history. Kristen Loesch masterfully weaves the two timelines together into a rich, compelling, utterly absorbing novel. I adored it!”
—Karen Coles, author of The Asylum
“A gorgeous saga, filled with mystery and Russian fairytales…a perfect tapestry of tragedy, romance, and survival…an absolutely mesmerizing read.”
—Historical Novel Society
“The Last Russian Doll blends the best of two genres by embedding a riveting mystery within a masterfully researched historical narrative…History enthusiasts will enjoy piecing together this fresh perspective on 20th-century Russia, while fans of contemporary whodunits will relish the ever-increasing drama. … a deeply emotional and irresistible story of what it takes to find one’s way through a country with a story like none other.”
“…[E]motionally rich…. Loesch moves seamlessly between the expansive dual timelines, slowly establishing the connections between Rosie’s quest to solve the mystery of her family’s murders and Tonya’s efforts to survive the Bolshevik Revolution. Historical fiction fans will love this.”
“...[P]owerfully affecting tale.”