Nina Revskaya is a former ballerina with the Bolshoi ballet. She is now living in Boston in a wheelchair and has decided to auction her precious jewelry. She believes this might ease her mind about the memories of her past life.
Nina auditioned and was accepted into the Bolshoi ballet school. She dedicated her life to her dance. All around her Stalin made his mark and people disappeared into the night. Neighbours informed on each other. People were packed into small apartments and life was tough. Nina seemed to be on the outskirts of all this.
Nina falls in love with a renown poet, Viktor and though him meets Gersh, a Russian Jew and composer. This was not a safe friendship as jews were persecuted during Stalin's years in power.
As Nina in Boston reflects on her life she is approached by Grigori Solodin, a translator of Nina's husband's poetry. He has a matching piece to her amber earring and bracelet. Of course, he wants some answers which Nina does not want to face. Slowly the mysteries get unraveled.
I enjoyed this book and felt the pace was just right. I loved learning about Stalin's regime and especially about the rigors of the Bolshoi ballet.
First Line: "The afternoon was so cold, so relentlessly gray, few pedestrians passed the long island of trees dividing Commonwealth Avenue, and even little dogs, shunted along impatiently, wore thermal coats and offended expressions."