My Review: The Ice Swan by J'Nell Ciesielski
The Story (taken from the publisher's website, TNZ Fiction):
Amid the violent last days of the glittering Russian monarchy, a 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. Svetlana and her family are forced into hiding in Paris’s underbelly, with little to their name but the jewels they sewed into their corsets before their terrifying escape.
Born the second son of a Scottish 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. After treating Svetlana for a minor injury, he is pulled into a world of decaying imperial glitter. Intrigued by this mysterious, cold, and beautiful woman, Wynn follows Svetlana to an underground Russian club where drink, dance, and questionable dealings collide on bubbles of vodka.
Out of money and options, Svetlana agrees to a marriage of convenience with the handsome and brilliant Wynn, who will protect her and pay off her family’s debts. It’s the right thing for a good man to do, but Wynn cannot help but hope the marriage will turn into one of true affection. When Wynn’s life takes an unexpected turn, so does Svetlana’s—and soon Paris becomes as dangerous as Petrograd. And as the Bolsheviks chase them to Scotland and beyond, Wynn and Svetlana begin to wonder if they will ever be able to outrun the love they are beginning to feel for one another.
This review is of an ARC. Be sure to visit the author's website or Goodreads for information on pre-ordering a copy of The Ice Swan.
Was anyone else obsessed with the Anastasia animated movie as a kid or was that just me? Of course, you were! I think it was an obligatory fave of millennials. I was thrilled to find this book by new-to-me author J’nell Ciesielski, because the description gave me serious Anastasia vibes plus it included my favorite romance trope, the ever interesting marriage of convenience. I’m happy to inform, The Ice Swan did not disappoint. In the epilogue there’s even an Anastasia introduced and I choose to believe the author probably was into the movie too. Ha ha!
Anyway, the first half of the book was definitely intense. There’s a lot of uncertainty and violence as Svetlana and her family fled Russia for France in 1917 whilst leaving behind her father and brother. To be quite honest, I wasn’t sure if the romantic aspect was going to work as there was little interaction between Svetlana and Wynn that showed chemistry of any kind, but the romance took center stage for the latter half of the book and the sparks blazed and hearts thawed.
I’m very interested to see what happens to a few characters in this book, mainly one dude whose name I can’t give due to spoilers. Hopefully, the story continues!!! I definitely recommend this book to romance fans and readers who love historicals but are sick to death of European novels taking place in Regency England!
~ My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ~
*I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*
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