Look, I expected to like this book. I mean, who wouldn’t? J’nell Ciesielski wrote it! It was bound to be fabulous. Still, I hadn’t read the synopsis before I requested a review copy, and wow…
Not only do we have a Russian princess, we have a Scottish Marquis! Wait, what?
Yeah. It’s a thing. And Wynn? He’s… amazing.
Once again, J’nell has created a Scotsman I can’t help but loving and… he’s nothing like the one in her last book. (HERE’s the one I had with J’nell about him earlier this year)
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Two Wars, Two Perspectives, One Chance at Life and Love
At 25% into the book, I loved the characters (even the ones who annoy the pants off me, and trust me. Svetlana is annoying as all her imperious get out. That’s what the whole character growth thing is all about, right?
The juxtaposition of the Russian revolution during WWI, set in Paris where another revolution occurred almost a hundred-fifty years earlier… fascinating. Doing all that with a cardiologist working near Paris with all the battle wounded and a Russian princess who happens to be a ballet dancer? What’s not to love?
The hot and cold relationship fits so perfectly in the personalities of both the characters and their respective countries.
This book has everything going for it. I always forget the Russian Revolution took place right at the end of WWI. Unlike many revolutions and wars for independence in history (French and American in particular), I’ve never been in support of either side of this one. Ciesielski does a fabulous job of showing the unyielding, arrogant imperiousness of the Russian royals contrasted with the brutal, determination of the bolsheviks to slaughter them all. I find it strange to realize that those same Russians fled to the very country who treated their own nobles in the same way during their revolution–off with their heads, if you will.
Add to that the advances in medicine and technology, and this book has it all.
Along with a lovely romance.
Mostly. I can absolutely see what both of the characters love about the other. The way it takes time for each to lay their hearts on the line for the other to accept or reject–perfect. It makes total sense. Ciesielski even did a fabulous job of making me semi-understand Lana’s mother. Never thought that would happen.
My only quibble is the over-the-top protestations of undying love at the end. I kept telling myself that someone like Lana would, when she finally allowed herself to love and for that love to be known, could tip over from icy to fiery both in word and in deed. But frankly, I rolled my eyes.
Seriously. IT was like a page. Maybe a page and a half of an entirely otherwise perfect book. And I suspect 99% of other readers loved that. So I’m calling this book a five-star, perfect win. In fact, despite requesting a review copy, I purchased it myself. Bravo, Ms. Ciesielski. Bravo!
The Ice Swan is on tour with Celebrate Lit.
Book: The Ice Swan
Author: J’Nell Ciesielski
Genre: Historical Romance
Release date: July 6, 2021
Amid the violent last days of the glittering Russian court, a Russian princess on the run finds her heart where she least expects it.
1917, Petrograd. Fleeing the murderous flames of the Russian Revolution, princess Svetlana Dalsky hopes to find safety in Paris with her mother and sister. But the city is buckling under the weight of the Great War, and the Bolsheviks will not rest until they have erased every Russian aristocrat from memory.
Born the second son of a duke, the only title Wynn MacCallan cares for is that of surgeon. Putting his talents with a scalpel to good use in the hospitals in Paris, Wynn pushes the boundaries of medical science to give his patients the best care possible. While treating Svetlana for a minor injury, he is pulled into a world of decaying imperial glitter and underground Russian clubs where drink, culture, and questionable dealings collide on bubbles of vodka.
Out of money and options, Svetlana is forced into a marriage of convenience with Wynn, who will protect her and pay off her debts. It’s the right thing for a good man to do, but Wynn can’t help hoping the marriage will turn into one of true affection. As the Bolsheviks chase them to different corners of the earth, Wynn and Svetlana begin to see they will never be able to outrun the love they have for one another.
About the Author
With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages Award and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle. Learn more at www.jnellciesielski.com.
More from J’nell
When we think of the Great War we often only think about events happening right on the battlefield of France, Belgium, and Germany. It was a time of great upheaval for so many people and countries, none more so than Russia. It was during the Great War that the Bolsheviks rose up against the monarchy, assassinated the tsar and his family, and plunged Russia into civil war. The country was in such chaos that they pulled out of the war to deal with their own revolution. The Russian Revolution was the result of centuries of oppression and imperialism that finally boiled over. As the Bolsheviks seized power, nobles and anyone associated or favorable to the monarchy were stripped of their privileges and homes, many killed, and still thousands of others fled in fear of their lives where they became the great wave of White emigres.
The stories of the ill-fated Anastasia and the evil Rasputin are legendary, but it wasn’t until recently when I watched a Russian miniseries called Road to Calvary that I became fascinated with the nobles and their struggle and from all that an idea sparked that would become my upcoming release, The Ice Swan. It’s about a Russian princess fleeing the Revolution to Paris in 1917 where she meets a handsome surgeon who is breaking new grounds in cardiology. We see the plight of the White emigres who have taken refuge in Paris and founded their own little Russia in the heart of the city, the exhausted City of Light after four years of war, the overflowing hospitals, and highly controversial advancements in surgery. Plus, a romance to prove that true love can overcome any difference and who doesn’t need a little more love these days?
Rebecca Tews, July 19
Where Faith and Books Meet, July 19
Books and Everyday Life, July 19
Texas Book-aholic, July 19
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 20
Reflections From My Bookshelves, July 20
All-of-a-kind Mom, July 20
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 21
She Lives To Read, July 21
The Write Escape, July 21
Lakesdielivingsite, July 22
Remembrancy, July 22
Inklings and notions, July 22
For Him and My Family, July 23
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 23
The Christian Fiction Girl, July 23
deb’s Book Review, July 24
Rachael’s Inkwell, July 24
To Everything There Is A Season, July 24
Life, love, writing, July 24
Locks, Hooks and Books, July 25
Life of Literature, July 25
Inside the Wong Mind, July 25
Betti Mace, July 26
Bliss, Books & Jewels, July 26
Older & Smarter?, July 26
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 27
Connect in Fiction, July 27
Mary Hake, July 27
Connie’s History Classroom, July 28
Back porch reads, July 28
Mypreciousbitsandmusings, July 28
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, July 29
Blossoms and Blessings, July 29
Genesis 5020, July 29
Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, July 30
Splashes of Joy, July 30
Simple Harvest Reads, July 30 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Through the fire blogs, July 31
Just Your Average reviews, July 31
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 1
Labor Not in Vain, August 1
The Adventures of a Travelers Wife, August 1
To celebrate her tour, J’nell is giving away the grand prize of a paperback copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.