Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Favorite Reads #8: PETERSBURG by Emily Hanlon

Alyce of At Home with Books hosts My Favorite Reads, a weekly feature spotlighting favorite reads from pre-blogging days. Because it's been a while since the books were read, these posts are not reviews per se, but rather impressionistic remembrances of a positive reading experience. I think of this feature as an opportunity to more deeply explore the range of my reading interests and those of other book bloggers and readers of book blogs outside of the current crop of new releases.

Do you have an old favorite that you'd like to share?

by Emily Hanlon
ISBN-13: 9780804104845
ISBN-10: 0804104840
Publication Date: 9/30/1989

Synopsis (from the publisher):
The most glittering city. The greatest love story. The passion and paradox of a time when lives were turned upside down by the powerful events surrounding them. Petersburg is a superlative, brilliantly crafted historical novel of imperial Russia swept up in the first great wave of revolution, telling the odyssey of four people.

Alexei Kalinin, the peasant who becomes one of Russia’s richest men, finds that his wealth, power, and obsessive love for Anna Orlova nearly allow him to bury his murky past.

Anna, a magically gifted pianist and sheltered daughter of old Russia, is ill-prepared for the passionate world into which her love for the mysterious Kalinin takes her.

Defiant and sensuous, Irina Rantzau is at home among the most hedonistic pleasure of the court, but chooses instead to embrace the growing rebellion.

Misha Kalinin, Alexei’s nephew and heir, transforms his raw energy and fear of violence into the spirit and determination that make him a true fighter for the people, and a tortured soul.

Particular and powerful passions catapult these four into a strange and different world of blood, betrayal, and rebellion, a world that forces each to face the most bittersweet choice of all.

Why I Chose This Book:

PETERSBURG has had a secure home on my shelves now for 20 years. It has withstood numerous shelf clearings, downsizings, and changes of residence. I read it when it first came out, was completely enraptured, and fully intend to read it again -- some day!  I didn't know much about Russian history when I first picked this book up, but it inspired me to purchase and read cover-to-cover RUSSIA: A CONCISE HISTORY , a pretty fascinating book in its own right.

If you like historical fiction with a slightly romantic bent, PETERSBURG is an engrossing and enlightening read. Most likely, you'll have to look for a used copy or check your local library, but it's definitely worth hunting down.

About the Author:

Emily Hanlon is the author of eight books of fiction, including Petersburg, (Putnams) which was translated into several languages and reached the best sellers list in England. Her latest book, The Art of Fiction Writing or How to Fall Down the Rabbit Hole Without Really Trying, is based on her twenty-two years of teaching creative writing and leading writers on the creative journey. Her novels, The Swing and The Wing and The Flame have just been re-released. Her weeklong writing retreat for women, Writing, Creativity and Ritual, will be held in the Tuscan hills outside of Florence, Italy in late September 2002. Her ongoing writing workshops are in Westchester County, New York. Emily works with writers around the country on the phone and teaches at the International Women’s Writing Guild conference at Skidmore College. She was a founding member of the National Writers Union. Her website is The Fiction Writer's Journey. This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Tina said...

well you've certainly inspired me. I love finding older books that meet a need (in this case learning some russian history)...Thanks for dusting this one off.

Amy said...

I have never heard of thid book but I think I would really enjoy it. I read the biography of Tsar Nicholas and Alexandra many years ago and fell in love with the descriptions of St. Petersburg and some other areas of Russia.

I'm excited to find this book and read it.
Thank you.

Daphne said...

Sounds interesting!

Alyce said...

This sounds great! I do enjoy historical fiction books about Russia, and it's been years since I've read one.

Zibilee said...

This book sounds like it's right up my alley. I love historical fiction, and the fact that it is about Ryssia makes even more excited about it. I just went over to Amazon looking for it, and it seems that a lot of the printings are unavailable. It looks like there is one deluxe version that seems to be around though. I am going to be adding this book to my next book order, thanks for the great recommendation!