Sashen­ka: A Novel

Simon Mon­te­fiore
  • Review
By – January 9, 2012
This fast-paced thriller tells the sto­ry of Sashen­ka, the daugh­ter of wealthy sec­u­lar Jews in St. Peters­burg. Reject­ing her par­ents’ bour­geois ways and her grand­par­ents’ reli­gion, Sashen­ka seeks intrigue, adven­ture, and per­haps truth in the nascent Com­mu­nist Par­ty just before the Russ­ian Rev­o­lu­tion. But, as Mon­te­fiore illus­trates with equal parts sym­pa­thy and cer­tain­ty, Sashenka’s tri­umphs and sor­rows dur­ing Stalin’s Great Ter­ror cul­mi­nate in a choice that rever­ber­ates for over a gen­er­a­tion. With­out a doubt, Montefiore’s empa­thet­ic and skilled por­tray­al of this wealthy Jew­ish girl turned Bol­she­vik activist brings to life the intri­cate and ter­ri­fy­ing his­to­ry of the Sovi­et Union in the 20th cen­tu­ry. 

A respect­ed schol­ar of Russ­ian his­to­ry, Mon­te­fiore brings his knowl­edge to bear in this nov­el with amaz­ing and lauda­to­ry results. Read­ers — both those with and those with­out a back­ground in the time peri­od and the coun­try — will enjoy Sashen­ka for its fic­tion­al pow­er and his­tor­i­cal depth. Cast of char­ac­ters, note.
Rachel Sara Rosen­thal is an envi­ron­men­tal attor­ney in Wash­ing­ton, DC. Orig­i­nal­ly from Greens­boro, North Car­oli­na, she grad­u­at­ed from Duke Uni­ver­si­ty in 2003 and Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty School of Law in 2006.

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