Description (from cover):
“The bestselling author of The Madonnas of Leningrad returns with a breathtaking novel of love, madness, and devotion set against the extravagant royal court of eighteenth-century St. Petersburg.
Born to a Russian family of lower nobility, Xenia, an eccentric dreamer who cares little for social conventions, falls in love with Andrei, a charismatic soldier and singer in the Empress’s Imperial choir. Though husband and wife adore each other, their happiness is overshadowed by the absurd demands of life at the royal court and by Xenia’s growing obsession with having a child–a desperate need that is at last fulfilled with the birth of her daughter. But then a tragic vision comes true, and a shattered Xenia descends into grief, undergoing a profound transformation that alters the course of her life. Turning away from family and friends, she begins giving all her money and possessions to the poor. Then, one day, she mysteriously vanishes.
Years later, dressed in the tatters of her husband’s military uniform and answering only to his name, Xenia is discovered tending the paupers of St. Petersburg’s slums. Revered as a soothsayer and a blessed healer to the downtrodden, she is feared by the royal court and its new Empress, Catherine, who perceives her deeds as a rebuke to their lavish excesses.
In this evocative and elegantly written tale, Dean reimagines the intriguing life of Xenia of St. Petersburg, a patron saint of her city and one of Russia’s most mysterious and beloved holy figures. This is the exploration of the blessings of loyal friendship, the limits of reason, and the true costs of loving deeply.”
I picked this book up simply because it was about Russia. I have a fascination with all things Russian here of late and decided that this book might feed that obsession. I was wrong. The main thing that I enjoyed, seriously, about this book was that it takes place in Russia. The plot is confusing with gaps of years that go missing and leave you scratching your head wondering why the author decided to leave those years out. Were they boring or something? It just could have flowed so much better than what it does. Highly disappointing read.
Xenia comes from a well off family in eighteenth-century Russia and marries a man she loves, which is rare for the time period. She suffers the pain of not having a child and becomes almost obsessed with getting pregnant. Xenia is very eccentric and has always been and she sometimes has visions of the future. She becomes very pious while dealing with grief and becomes obsessive about religion, giving away nearly everything she owns to the less fortunate. She is revered by the poor for her generosity and is herald for her religious piety. She disappears for long periods of time and her family loses track of where she is and what she is doing.
This was a portrayal of the real life of the saint known today as Xenia of St. Petersburg. I was bored with this book. Like I said before, the plot is so jumbled that I spent half the book wondering what the heck was happening. Not a great read and not recommended highly unless you prefer to read pointless books that rarely make any sense. This book would have been better if there weren’t huge holes in the storyline and large gaps of time that go unaccounted for.
Overall Rating: 2/5
Title: The Mirrored World
Author: Debra Dean
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction
Disclaimer: This book was selected from the library by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.