The Lost Season of Love and Snow
The unforgettable story of Alexander Pushkin’s beautiful wife, Natalya, a woman much admired at Court, and how she became reviled as the villain of St. Petersburg.At the age of sixteen, Natalya Goncharova is stunningly beautiful and intellectually curious. But while she finds joy in French translations and a history of Russian poetry, her family is more concerned with her marriage prospects. It is only fitting that during the Christmas of 1828 at her first public ball in her hometown of Moscow she attracts the romantic attention of Russia’s most lauded rebel poet: Alexander Pushkin. Enchanted at first sight, Natalya is already a devoted reader of Alexander’s serialized novel in verse, Evgeny Onegin. The most recently published chapter ends in a duel, and she is dying to learn what happens next. Finding herself deeply attracted to Alexander’s intensity and joie de vivre, Natalya hopes to see him again as soon as possible.What follows is a courtship and later marriage full of equal parts passion and domestic bliss but also destructive jealousies. When vicious court gossip leads to Alexander dying from injuries earned defending his honor as well as Natalya’s in a duel, Natalya finds herself reviled for her alleged role in his death. With beautiful writing and understanding, Jennifer Laam, and her compelling new novel, The Lost Season of Love and Snow, help Natalya tell her side of the story—the story of her greatest love and her inner struggle to create a fulfilling life despite the dangerous intrigues of a glamorous imperial Court.

The Lost Season of Love and Snow Details

TitleThe Lost Season of Love and Snow
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 2nd, 2018
PublisherSt. Martin's Griffin
ISBN-139781250121882
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Cultural, Russia, Romance, Adult Fiction

The Lost Season of Love and Snow Review

  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    I received this from netgalley.com in exchange for a review. This story focuses (heavily) on the 'romantic' relationship between the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin and his young beautiful wife Natalya. Alexander dies of wounds suffered in a duel protecting Natalya as well as his own honor.I began to lose interest half-way through the book. The book just didn't move forward, rehashing personalities over and over. It got to be 'second verse, same as the first'. And Tsar Nicolas .... what a letch!3 I received this from netgalley.com in exchange for a review. This story focuses (heavily) on the 'romantic' relationship between the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin and his young beautiful wife Natalya. Alexander dies of wounds suffered in a duel protecting Natalya as well as his own honor.I began to lose interest half-way through the book. The book just didn't move forward, rehashing personalities over and over. It got to be 'second verse, same as the first'. And Tsar Nicolas .... what a letch!3.25 stars
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  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    January 1, 1970
    To be reviewed over at Fresh Fiction!
  • Jenny Q
    January 1, 1970
    I knew nothing about Alexander Pushkin other than that he was a famous poet, I knew nothing about his wife or that he died in a duel defending her honor, so of course once I saw the blurb for The Lost Season of Love and Snow, I had to read it. What a subject for a novel!Despite being bound by the constraints of historical fact, this is very much a character-driven story. In the prologue, I was a bit put off by Natalya. Her husband has literally just breathed his last breath and all she can think I knew nothing about Alexander Pushkin other than that he was a famous poet, I knew nothing about his wife or that he died in a duel defending her honor, so of course once I saw the blurb for The Lost Season of Love and Snow, I had to read it. What a subject for a novel!Despite being bound by the constraints of historical fact, this is very much a character-driven story. In the prologue, I was a bit put off by Natalya. Her husband has literally just breathed his last breath and all she can think about is how she is going to repair her reputation. But I told myself that I did not yet know what had happened to make this her first reaction, and as her past unfolds, the way her light is dimmed by the expectations of marriage and society, the way she bears the blame for the transgressions of others, the way she is robbed of her own destiny, witnessing her despair and regret, I could not help but feel for her.We first meet young Natalya as an idealistic sixteen-year-old whose love for romantic novels shapes her expectations of love and courtship. A celebrated yet humble beauty with writing aspirations of her own, she catches the eye of Russia's favorite poet shortly after her introduction into society and quickly weaves grand dreams around a life with him. Eventually she will get that life, and though it will bring her passion and love, it will also bring her disappointment and heartbreak. The pressure of being Russia's greatest poet often takes a toll on Alexander, and Natalya often finds herself putting her husband's needs above her own. Never achieving the success she hoped for with her own attempts at writing, she begins to indulge in what she thinks are innocent pleasures where she can find them, mainly amidst the glittering and "courtly love" atmosphere of St. Petersburg society, where she has become the belle of the ball. But she unwittingly sets in motion a chain of events that will forever alter not only her own life, but the landscape of Russian literature."You have only known the sorrows of a beautiful and clever woman. You did nothing wrong."At times I was tempted to dismiss Natalya for being vain and foolish, but I can see how relishing her status as a great beauty and a woman oft admired and desired was the only real option left to her to feel some self-worth in the shadow of her husband's talent and fame. Upon presentation at court, she is immediately dismissed as being beneath her husband's intellect simply by way of her beauty, and her husband is not supportive of her own attempts at writing. She does find joy in being a wife and a mother, but still she yearns for that something more, and I think we can all identify with that.Sometimes the beauty of a book is knowing at the beginning how it's going to end and then building the tension and suspense to the point that the reader, though knowing what's coming, can't wait to see how it all shakes out, and that's exactly what happens here. Aside from the prologue, I thought the first third of the book to be rather slow-moving, and I confess I grew a bit bored during Natalya and Alexander's lengthy and often long-distance courtship, but once they married, the narrative became much more compelling. I could not turn the pages fast enough as the fateful hour drew near, and I shed a tear during the very tender and moving final scene between husband and wife. And I lamented that even in the immediate aftermath of Alexander's death, Natalya was not allowed the freedom to express her grief, still subject to the expectations of how someone else thought she should behave.Not having read anything of Pushkin's beforehand, I was disappointed and a bit surprised that so few lines of his work were presented in the story. We get to see his inspiration and his methods, but not the actual results, and I can't help but feel that a few selected excerpts in apt moments would have enriched the story. But I still found The Lost Season of Love and Snow to be a poignant and satisfying examination of a woman unfairly vilified for her role in the beloved poet's death, by people who never seemed to consider that she was grieving him more than they were. And though she loses the love of her life, she achieves the ultimate triumph by managing to make her own peace, in the process finding happiness again, and ensuring that her husband's works were never forgotten.
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  • Meg - A Bookish Affair
    January 1, 1970
    "The Lost Season of Love and Snow" is the story of Natalya, the wife of famous Russian writer Alexander Pushkin. While I have not read anything by Pushkin (after reading this book, I might need to change that), I was familiar with some of the details of his life to include his untimely end. I was not familiar with his wife and the impact that she had on his life so I was looking forward to hearing her side of the story through this book and I was certainly not disappointed!Come to find out, Nata "The Lost Season of Love and Snow" is the story of Natalya, the wife of famous Russian writer Alexander Pushkin. While I have not read anything by Pushkin (after reading this book, I might need to change that), I was familiar with some of the details of his life to include his untimely end. I was not familiar with his wife and the impact that she had on his life so I was looking forward to hearing her side of the story through this book and I was certainly not disappointed!Come to find out, Natalya is yet another example of a woman who was maligned by those who either felt wronged by her or perhaps were jealous of her. Alexander was a hot commodity already by the time Natalya meets him. He was already published and very well-known throughout Russia when he falls for Natalya. She very quickly becomes the envy of Russia as she takes Alexander off the market. Their romance was anything but clear cut. Alexander has his dalliances and Natalya is relentlessly pursued by a man who could upend the Pushkin family's lives with one move: the Czar of Imperial Russia. I loved having a front row seat for all of this drama.I have loved this author's other books. I am fascinated with Russia and I love the way that Laam has brought the time periods that she has chosen to write about to life. She does a great job of bringing Natalya and Alexander to life. I loved how she was able to create their movements in and out of Russian high society as they seem to follow Alexander's whims from wanting to be a man about town to acting (and sometimes not acting!) the part of the struggling artist. Overall, this was a good read and I am looking forward to reading more by Laam in the future!
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  • Jessie (Ageless Pages Reviews)
    January 1, 1970
    A strong novel focused on the life of Natalia Nickloaevna Goncharova, the eventual wife to the famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. Though the various trials Natalie faced both on her own and with her famous husband, Laam keeps a brisk pace and a fresh eye on her often-maligned main character. Some of the events may be drawn out a tad too long, but this was a vivid re-imagination of the court of Tsar Nicholas I and the life that Natalie lived within it. I also appreciated that it offers a new A strong novel focused on the life of Natalia Nickloaevna Goncharova, the eventual wife to the famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. Though the various trials Natalie faced both on her own and with her famous husband, Laam keeps a brisk pace and a fresh eye on her often-maligned main character. Some of the events may be drawn out a tad too long, but this was a vivid re-imagination of the court of Tsar Nicholas I and the life that Natalie lived within it. I also appreciated that it offers a new version of an infamous woman often blamed by history for the choices and actions of her husband. She gets her own voice and personal agency in The Lost Season of Love and Snow.
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  • The Lit Bitch
    January 1, 1970
    This is my first book review of 2018 and I couldn’t have picked a better book to kick things off with. Though I read this in 2017, I am ringing in the new year with love and snow!There is something about Jennifer Laam’s writing that I find so lovely and elegant. It’s hard to describe but her books are consistently good and well written which made me all the more anxious to read this one!Laam clearly has an interest in Russia, as most of her novels are based on Russian history which is refreshing This is my first book review of 2018 and I couldn’t have picked a better book to kick things off with. Though I read this in 2017, I am ringing in the new year with love and snow!There is something about Jennifer Laam’s writing that I find so lovely and elegant. It’s hard to describe but her books are consistently good and well written which made me all the more anxious to read this one!Laam clearly has an interest in Russia, as most of her novels are based on Russian history which is refreshing and unique in a sea of books set in Tudor England (the first time period that comes to mind when someone says ‘historical fiction’). Her novels are always well researched and authentic feeling. This book was no different, though slightly shorter than her other novels (about 350 pages, while her others are around 360), it still was packed full of historical details.This book had a distinct holiday feel to it, as Natalya met Alexander during a Christmas ball. I felt like the setting and especially reading it at the holiday time, made it all the more cozy and fun to read. I loved the tension between the characters and the romance that developed and even the heart break was fitting and had the right amount of tragedy.Some people complained that the novel was too short to develop in-depth characters or story, however I felt differently. Could the character development have gone deeper—yes. But this novel wasn’t meant to be an ‘epic’. Could it have been an epic—-yes. But for me I thought the length was perfect for a broad audience. It offers a balanced amount of character development, history, and romance without being overly long which might alienate some readers making them lose interest. This book has a much broader appeal to readers. There is enough to make the reader feel connected and invested in the characters as well as enough history to satisfy fans of historical fiction, but it’s not so long that readers find themselves wondering when they can start their next book.I personally loved how balanced the story was and how easy it was to read and connect with Natalya and Alexander. The romance was well written and as usual, there is an elegance about Laam’s writing that is her signature style.If you are looking for something unique and elegant, give Laam’s novels a try. She has never disappointed me in her novels!See my full review here
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  • Christina (Confessions of a Book Addict)
    January 1, 1970
    From a young age, Natalya Goncharova has known that she must marry well. Even though she has a variety of interests, her mother is more concerned about her marriage prospects, which should be promising as Natalya is a very beautiful girl. At a Christmas Ball in 1828, she attracts the attention of the very famous Alexander Pushkin, Russia's most prized poet. What is even more exciting is that Natalya has read Pushkin's work and is a fan. This possible love connection should be exciting to her fam From a young age, Natalya Goncharova has known that she must marry well. Even though she has a variety of interests, her mother is more concerned about her marriage prospects, which should be promising as Natalya is a very beautiful girl. At a Christmas Ball in 1828, she attracts the attention of the very famous Alexander Pushkin, Russia's most prized poet. What is even more exciting is that Natalya has read Pushkin's work and is a fan. This possible love connection should be exciting to her family, but at first, her mother isn't convinced it's a good match as Alexander has a shady past. Plus, how much money can a poet make, especially if he isn't in the Tsar's good graces? But it seems that no one can keep these two love birds apart. Jennifer Laam's The Lost Season of Love and Snow is an interesting glimpse into the actual relationship between Pushkin and his beautiful wife, Natalya. There's romance, secrets, and major heartbreak in this historical novel.Read the rest of my review here:http://www.confessionsofabookaddict.c...
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  • lacy
    January 1, 1970
    A special thank you goes out to Netgalley and St Martin's Griffin for allowing me to read this early! All thoughts and opinions are my own!4.5 stars!TW: sexual harassment, violent incident between Natalya and a side character.What a beautiful story of love! I hardly took any notes, only a notecard, because I was just so entranced with the story of love. Natalya and Alexander have a special place in my heart and their love story will stay with me for a long time. As this is historical fiction, i A special thank you goes out to Netgalley and St Martin's Griffin for allowing me to read this early! All thoughts and opinions are my own!4.5 stars!TW: sexual harassment, violent incident between Natalya and a side character.What a beautiful story of love! I hardly took any notes, only a notecard, because I was just so entranced with the story of love. Natalya and Alexander have a special place in my heart and their love story will stay with me for a long time. As this is historical fiction, it is based on the events of Natalya and Alexander, who was one of Russia's greatest poets. However, history has painted Natalya in negative light, accusing her of being a slut and driving Alexander to defend her honor. I liked that this author has tried, and succeeded in my humble opinion, to show Natalya in a better light. Too often the women are blamed for the demise of whatever is going on, especially in history. For example, poor Anne Boleyn or Joan of Arc. I hope more authors like Jennifer Laam attempt to clear move historical women's names. One of my favorite things about this book is that it is a story within a story. Natalya is telling us readers the story of her and Alexander. How they met, their marriage, their struggles. All of it. The story was weaved in such a beautiful way. The first chapter tells us what is going to happen but that still didn't stop me from crying when that part happened in the book. Tears were streaming down my face. I'm sure I looked a fright. But the love those two had for eachother was breathtakingly beautiful. I truly hope that each and every one of you experience that kind of love in your life. Overall, I couldn't be more pleased with this book. It has made my heart so full and happy, despite what happened in the end. This is a one of the best love stories out there. So much better than a lot of them that I have read.
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  • L.P. Logan
    January 1, 1970
    Wonderfully detailed book on historical Russia that has no problem whisking the reader back in time to an age of Tsar's, poets, and grand society. I found the descriptions to be captivating in scenery, emotions, and detail, and had no trouble feeling like I was a fly on the wall to all the ins and outs of this historical fiction. It was intriguing. And yet about 1/3 of the way in, all that detail and charm got lost. Instead of moving forward the story seemed to get bogged down with all the day-t Wonderfully detailed book on historical Russia that has no problem whisking the reader back in time to an age of Tsar's, poets, and grand society. I found the descriptions to be captivating in scenery, emotions, and detail, and had no trouble feeling like I was a fly on the wall to all the ins and outs of this historical fiction. It was intriguing. And yet about 1/3 of the way in, all that detail and charm got lost. Instead of moving forward the story seemed to get bogged down with all the day-to-day nuances that no one wants to read about because we are living them for ourselves every moment of every day. I understand that it is part of the story, especially since this is based on actual events and characters. But that isn't why I read a book -- to experience someone else's mundane. I read to escape from my own. This same feeling, where the book raced along in the beginning but then slowed, continued throughout the whole book. It was never able to recapture its original pacing. At the same time, it wasn't just the pacing that stopped, but also the emotional connection. Whereas the book was rife with every emotion within the human realm, somewhere along the line that all stopped. So rather than being invested the story became a chore. I stopped caring about them, and to a degree, I think the writer did as well. This is particularly noted in the end as Pushkin is laying on his bed dying in agony, even though it was days, all that is shown is a few lackluster conversations where the wife claims to be dying as well, devastated, but yet I never believed it. It was glazed over, lacked depth, and in a moment that could have really tied the whole book together and made it unforgettable, the reader is not given a single reason to feel bereft themselves. It is a shame. Overall my rating is probably around a 3.5. It isn't an awful story, but there is enough lacking that I cant say it is an amazing read. It still needs some work to bring up the last 2/3's. Still, lovers of Pushkin would appreciate the work that went into resurrecting him and his life, and would probably enjoy reading this one.
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  • Brittany's Pages
    January 1, 1970
    To be honest, I really need to take a deep breath here. Natalya is a young girl desperate to get out from under her strict Mother and to pursue her own study of Russian poetry. Her wish is granted when she captures the heart of Alexander Pushkin, the greatest Russian poet of the day. Their beautiful marriage is all any woman longs to have, but one misstep could ruin it forever. The Lost Season of Love and Snow is probably one of the best books I have read this year. I really cannot rave about th To be honest, I really need to take a deep breath here. Natalya is a young girl desperate to get out from under her strict Mother and to pursue her own study of Russian poetry. Her wish is granted when she captures the heart of Alexander Pushkin, the greatest Russian poet of the day. Their beautiful marriage is all any woman longs to have, but one misstep could ruin it forever. The Lost Season of Love and Snow is probably one of the best books I have read this year. I really cannot rave about this book enough. It was truly a beautiful romance.Natalya is so relatable. She is a young woman wanting to improve herself intellectually and make her way in the world. She tries to stay true to herself even with everyone around her pushing her to marry a wealthy man and to maintain the best of appearances. A woman who loves her husband and her children dearly.  I want to live in 19th century Russia. Imagine going to balls and masquerades in a beautiful city accented with flurry snow. The social pressures are very much the same as it is today. One small friendly or flirtatious act can completely ruin someone. Or if the Tsar desires one certain woman, how dare you refuse him? He has the power over you and your family and their destiny. Or the high fashion in Russian court is a low cut bodice.  Alexander and Natalya were real people. Yes, this story is fictional, but nothing thrilled my soul more than knowing that these people actually existed. In reading the author's note, I learned a lot more about them. This version of their history, though fictional, definitely puts a better view on what possibly could have happened. The Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer Laam gets five stars. *ARC received for free via NetGalley*
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  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    This is an amazing book with a great story and interesting characters! As it turns out, based on factual history. Maybe I'm showing my ignorance here. But... I'd heard of Alexander Pushkin, but had never read his works, nor had I know that he had a wife! That's what really made the story interesting to me!The story itself is well told and as I said, based on facts. The central character, Natalya, opens the story as a young woman living in Russia during the Tsarist times. She is aristocratic, bea This is an amazing book with a great story and interesting characters! As it turns out, based on factual history. Maybe I'm showing my ignorance here. But... I'd heard of Alexander Pushkin, but had never read his works, nor had I know that he had a wife! That's what really made the story interesting to me!The story itself is well told and as I said, based on facts. The central character, Natalya, opens the story as a young woman living in Russia during the Tsarist times. She is aristocratic, beautiful and doesn't have much money. Enter Puskin and the fireworks begin. Pushkin was a self-driven man, much more worldly than Natalya. So you have Tsarist Russia, two people in love and family. What's not to love!Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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  • Marzie
    January 1, 1970
    I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.3.5 StarsNatalya Goncharova Pushkina, reputed to be the most beautiful Russian woman in her day, has historically received a great deal of blame for the death of her husband Alexander Pushkin, Russia's most famous poet, in a duel fought over her reputation and his honor. The degree to which Natalya was responsible for the duel has long been debated by Pushkin historians. I agree with author Jennifer L I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.3.5 StarsNatalya Goncharova Pushkina, reputed to be the most beautiful Russian woman in her day, has historically received a great deal of blame for the death of her husband Alexander Pushkin, Russia's most famous poet, in a duel fought over her reputation and his honor. The degree to which Natalya was responsible for the duel has long been debated by Pushkin historians. I agree with author Jennifer Laam that, since history has largely been written by men, misbehaving women, or more accurately, women not conforming to their cultural and societal roles are treated badly in historical accounts. I have to admit that I found this book tough going in passages. The first person narrative choice (Natalya's voice) just did not seem to be the best fit, in my opinion. I am sure the choice was made to try to invest the readers in the heroine's viewpoint and her world, but for me, it didn't work. What I struggled with in this book is the fact that the first person narrator often seemed to be reflecting on observations more suited to an older, omniscient third-person narrator, stripping the voice of authenticity from a character who, though very bright, is only sixteen years old at the start of the book. (Admittedly, often counted as a young adult in that age.) The reader definitely cares about the lives of Natalia and Alexander but I felt that a deeper exploration of the relationship and its obvious downfalls (the societal "burden" of her beauty and vivacity, his reactions to it) might have been better explored in third-person narration. Nevertheless, here we are. This book seeks to tell Natalya's side of history and that it does. Laam has definitely sought to exculpate Natalya from direct responsibility for Pushkin's death and makes a good case for societal views of women being responsible for Natalya's loss and Pushkin's death. While expected to be vivacious when young and unmarried, the more sober role of married women with children in this historical period often pushed even women in the upper classes to keep their sparkle and light under a proverbial bushel. Natalya attracted much attention, and not just from her devoted husband. An insult at the hands of her besotted brother-in-law results in a duel defending her reputation and her husband's honor. The duel, as all who know of Pushkin's history, cut short his life at the young age of 37. The agonizing last two days of Pushkin's life are given searing spotlight here. As a famous beauty who tried to revel in the expectations of women of her era, even as they chafed, Natalya has been called vain, cold, selfish and many, many worse things. Since Larisa Cherkashina's 2012 biography Natalya Goncharova, which portrays another side to her character thanks in part drawing on her letters and writings, has still not made its way into English translation, this book, though a novel, stands as one of the few English language defenses of Natalya's character. Laam, who has written other novels dealing with Russian history clearly loves her subjects. I just wish editorial guidance had steered this to a different narrative angle.Check out the blog post for images of the beautiful Natalya: http://marziesreads.blogspot.com/2017...
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  • Margaret
    January 1, 1970
    This is my second book taking place in Russia in as many months. It’s also another look at a well-known historical figure through the eyes of his wife. Alexander Pushkin is the name I have heard but I’m not familiar with this works. Sometimes when this happens I find myself going back and reading what has been previously been published, such is the case with Pushkin.This book begins with a prologue, Pushkin has been involved in a duel defending the honour of his wife Natayla. As she reflects on This is my second book taking place in Russia in as many months. It’s also another look at a well-known historical figure through the eyes of his wife. Alexander Pushkin is the name I have heard but I’m not familiar with this works. Sometimes when this happens I find myself going back and reading what has been previously been published, such is the case with Pushkin.This book begins with a prologue, Pushkin has been involved in a duel defending the honour of his wife Natayla. As she reflects on what has happened she goes back in time and tells her story of how they got to this point, it is told from her point of view. What I found interesting right off the bat was she concern about her reputation rather than her husband, making my first impression of her less favourable. Though it did peek my curiosity as to the events leading up to this duel.Jumping back to when she is only 16 she tells her story. Of course this is fictionalized but based on real events that took place. The author created the right environment to get a picture of the setting and feeling. This was a character driven story where everything revolves around Natayla, for some of the time I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for her and all she endured, however there were times I wanted to reach in there and give her a shake and ask what’s was she thinking, in regards to various situations. A look at high society life in Russia while having to deal with advances from the Czar himself as well as dealing with family members was a lot for this young girl to handle. The author has painted a vivid picture of the times. This is my first time reading this author and I will definitely be adding her 2 previous novels to my Tbr list.Thanks to HFVBT to be part of this tour in which I received a copy of this book in my change for honest review.
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  • Patty
    January 1, 1970
    I will admit to knowing the name Alexander Pushkin. But I will also admit that I didn’t know much more about the man than he was a famous poet. I’ve long been fascinated with various facets of Russian history so I knew that I was starting from a good place with The Lost Season of Love and Snow. The book is the imagined telling of the love story of Alexander and his wife Natalya through her eyes.It was a time when women did not hold much power and the slightest scandal could ruin a woman forever. I will admit to knowing the name Alexander Pushkin. But I will also admit that I didn’t know much more about the man than he was a famous poet. I’ve long been fascinated with various facets of Russian history so I knew that I was starting from a good place with The Lost Season of Love and Snow. The book is the imagined telling of the love story of Alexander and his wife Natalya through her eyes.It was a time when women did not hold much power and the slightest scandal could ruin a woman forever. Natalya was one of the great beauties of her time despite coming from a family that had fallen on hard times. She was feeling the pressure to marry well so as to provide for her family but what is a girl to do when the heart leads her to a poet? That poet may be Russia’s most famous but he has a bit of the renegade about him and she fears his revolutionary thoughts could lead to exile. She gets assurances that her beloved will be safe but the question then becomes, will she be?These two are very compelling characters; Natalya was very young when she married Alexander and he was what we would consider a bit of a player. He introduced her to court where her beauty made her quite popular and after a childhood where her mother constantly berated her the attention was a comfort – especially when Alexander was away. They were both flirts but Natalya attracted some dangerous attention. It caused her no end of worry and Alexander no end of jealousy.Her telling of the tale offers a softer perspective on their life together. History shows it did not end happily for him but life did go on for Natalya and their children.I enjoyed this take on the love story of Alexander and Natalya. They were at times lovable and detestable as can often be said of people of disparate ages and types who fall in love. Ms. Laam brings the period to life with well written descriptions of the Tsar’s court and its entertainments. She presents the different households well so that you really get the sense of the depths to which Natalya’s family had fallen while still trying to maintain some nobility.It’s a great read for sitting by the fire with a cup of tea on a Saturday afternoon.4.5
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  • Ginger Pollard
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this book about the real life, albeit, little known poet Alexander Pushkin. The book glitters with the Russian Court of Tsar Nicolas I. Court life is one of my favorite subjects. I enjoyed the rivalry between Alexander's wife, the beautiful Natalya and her sisters. Also the rivalry between the men in Natalya's life who tried to win her affections and steal her away from her husband. The author portrays a wonderful life for this couple and their four children, though the husband and fat I enjoyed this book about the real life, albeit, little known poet Alexander Pushkin. The book glitters with the Russian Court of Tsar Nicolas I. Court life is one of my favorite subjects. I enjoyed the rivalry between Alexander's wife, the beautiful Natalya and her sisters. Also the rivalry between the men in Natalya's life who tried to win her affections and steal her away from her husband. The author portrays a wonderful life for this couple and their four children, though the husband and father is taken too soon in life. I didn't want this book to end.
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  • Milena
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 StarsAs a native Russian speaker who grew up with Pushkin's poetry I wanted to love The Last Season of Love and Snow. And even though I did enjoy it, I wasn't wowed by this book. I liked the fact that the story was told from Pushkin's wife, Natalya, point of view, the woman who was blamed for the poet's untimely demise. Like Ms. Laam noted, history is often unkind to beautiful and strong women who don't fit with society's expectations. Women have long been blamed for men's misfortunes and ha 3.5 StarsAs a native Russian speaker who grew up with Pushkin's poetry I wanted to love The Last Season of Love and Snow. And even though I did enjoy it, I wasn't wowed by this book. I liked the fact that the story was told from Pushkin's wife, Natalya, point of view, the woman who was blamed for the poet's untimely demise. Like Ms. Laam noted, history is often unkind to beautiful and strong women who don't fit with society's expectations. Women have long been blamed for men's misfortunes and have been treated unfairly, so I really appreciated the way Natalya was portrayed in the book. She wasn't the villain that history made her to be. Pushkin's life and death were very dramatic and so I was expecting an intense and emotional storytelling. He was a literally genius, arguably the greatest Russian poet, who died in duel defending his wife's honor. Natalya was one of the most beautiful women in court and she had many admirers including Tsar. Their life is fascinating and the author had a real chance to make these characters complex and intriguing. But I feel like she didn't do them justice, I found their portrayal in the book a little bland.Also I wanted to see Pushkin's poetry and his letters to Natalya incorporated into the story. There was not a poem, a stanza, or a verse of his to be found in the book. I really missed that, I think it would have been a nice touch. And reading his letters to Natalya would have helped understand their relationship better. This was another missed opportunity by Ms. Laam.The Lost Season of Love and Snow is by no means a bad book, if you love historical fiction and are interested in Russian culture and literature you may very well enjoy it. *ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley
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  • Rosanne Lortz
    January 1, 1970
    The Lost Season of Love and Snow tells the story of the Natalya, the wife of Russia’s most famous poet Alexander Pushkin. Courted by Pushkin at the young age of sixteen, the beautiful Natalya falls head over heels for him and becomes Madame Pushkina. Like most writers, Alexander struggles to make ends meet, and even though fame attends him, finances suffer. Natalya tries to assist her husband by transcribing his writing into clean manuscripts, and even though the newlyweds are poor (by rich peop The Lost Season of Love and Snow tells the story of the Natalya, the wife of Russia’s most famous poet Alexander Pushkin. Courted by Pushkin at the young age of sixteen, the beautiful Natalya falls head over heels for him and becomes Madame Pushkina. Like most writers, Alexander struggles to make ends meet, and even though fame attends him, finances suffer. Natalya tries to assist her husband by transcribing his writing into clean manuscripts, and even though the newlyweds are poor (by rich people standards), they are happy.After a few years go by and a few children enter the picture, Alexander goes away for a writing retreat of sorts. He urges his wife to enjoy society in his absence and flirt with all her admirers as is the fashion. Natalya gets a taste for court parties and balls, impressing the lecherous tsar with her daring decolletage and coquetting her way around St. Petersburg. When Alexander returns, he becomes increasingly disturbed that he is the Vulcan to her Venus (the ugly misshapen blacksmith married to the goddess of love). Matters come to a head when Natalya is unable to successfully end a flirtation with the tall, blond Georges d’Anthes, and Alexander’s jealousy leads him to the end we knew must come.I really enjoyed the way the author used Natalya’s weak eyesight and need for glasses as a symbol for her life. In the beginning, her mother forbade her to wear her eyeglasses in public since beauty was more important than the ability to see across the room. Later, we see Natalya imposing that same restriction on herself, caring more about appearance than perspective. And in the end it is her lack of perspective, her lack of understanding of how society would perceive her actions that contributes to the great tragedy of her life.History has blamed Natalya’s flighty and foolish actions for her husband Pushkin’s early demise. This book tries to “tell Natalya’s side of the story.” Written in first person, we can see the author’s conjecture for how Natalya was motivated as she navigated the perilous world of the Russian court.It seemed like the author felt obliged by historical fact to state Natalya’s words and actions as documented by source material, and then to create internal excuses to try to redeem her in the readers’ eyes–-She was flustered when she said that–it just didn’t come out right…-She was flirting, but hasn’t everybody at some point?…-She actually had the best intentions when she did that, but circumstances were against her…-She was lusting after someone not her husband, but she really loved Alexander the whole time…-And it is a truth universally acknowledged that the world is rigged against women!Frankly, a lot of Natalya’s self-justifying narration seemed pretty weak. I wondered if perhaps the author was trying to make us see Natalya as self-deluded in the matter (which would have been an interesting narrative approach!), although when I reached the Author’s Note, I saw that was not the case.One great thing about the novel is that it raised a lot of questions for me about the real Natalya: did she actually write poetry herself and never show it to her husband? Is there any evidence of a feminist perspective on her part, or is that a modern notion imposed by the author on the story? What was the relationship between Pushkin and Tolstoy? And the biggest question of all: what does the title of the book actually refer to?Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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  • Juliet Bookliterati
    January 1, 1970
    Historical fiction is still my favourite genre, especially when it is takes a different look at real historical figures and their lives.  I know a bit about Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, and have studied some of his poetry as part of my degree course.  Apart from his poetry what people remember is his marriage to one of Moscow's most beautiful women, Natalya Pushkina, née Goncharova, who was blamed for his death after a flirtation led to a duel in which Pushkin was mortally wounded.  In The Lo Historical fiction is still my favourite genre, especially when it is takes a different look at real historical figures and their lives.  I know a bit about Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, and have studied some of his poetry as part of my degree course.  Apart from his poetry what people remember is his marriage to one of Moscow's most beautiful women, Natalya Pushkina, née Goncharova, who was blamed for his death after a flirtation led to a duel in which Pushkin was mortally wounded.  In The Lost Season of Love and Snow Jennifer Laam tells the story from Natalya's point of view, and portrays her not as a femme fatale, and villain but instead as a victim of society.Jennifer Laam is a skilful writer and was able to bring to life early nineteenth century Russia to life, and had obviously done a lot of research.  Her attention to detail, in both setting and characters, draw you in and paint wonderful pictures of the palaces, the costumes and the characters themselves.  Natalya was only sixteen when she met Pushkin, and he was thirty, but this was acceptable in nineteenth century Russia; women were married off young so they no longer had to be supported by their family.  Natalya was a figure I was really drawn to, I had empathy for the situation she found herself in; a beautiful woman in a society ruled by men.  No woman in the Russian court could turn away from the Tsar, although Natalya tried her best.  Bearing in mind what has happened in today's society this is an interesting read of how a woman is viewed as a beautiful object, and not an actual person, her intelligence and feelings are not taken into account. Her husband is obviously doomed from the beginning, as a young man he had been told by a fortune teller that he would die at the hands of a tall, fair haired man. Pushkin is the tortured genius we expect a poet to be, he doesn't have much money and is at the whim of his imagination, and of the Tsar who censors his work.The Lost Season of Love and Snow is an erudite and character driven novel.  Full of historical fact and captures the zeitgeist of the era; the position of women, the class system, censorship, politics and the role of literature.  I was captivated by this alternative  history of Natalya and he role in Pushkin's life.  An evocative tale of love, jealousy, power and ultimately the death of a great poet; A brilliant piece of historical fiction.
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  • Wit & Wonder Books
    January 1, 1970
    *** ARC provided by the author for an honest review ***During the Christmas of 1828, sixteen year old Natalya Goncharova goes to her first ball, and falls in love in The Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer Laam.Natalya has spent all of her sixteen years reading, studying, and learning to be a lady, while waiting to be a wife. As she is now sixteen she will be attending her first ball and hopefully find the love of her life.At the ball she is the first to be asked to dance, and by Tolstoy no *** ARC provided by the author for an honest review ***During the Christmas of 1828, sixteen year old Natalya Goncharova goes to her first ball, and falls in love in The Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer Laam.Natalya has spent all of her sixteen years reading, studying, and learning to be a lady, while waiting to be a wife. As she is now sixteen she will be attending her first ball and hopefully find the love of her life.At the ball she is the first to be asked to dance, and by Tolstoy no less. But he has ulterior motives, his friend Alexander Pushkin is interested in Natalya and begins to pursue her.Their love is a love for the ages, the passion, and happiness and even their jealousy was something to experience. But their love and lives together, was not meant to be endless.I enjoyed getting to see the development of their relationship, but the ending of said relationship was devastating. I like historical books, historical romances even more. This had actual people from history that I easily recognized and in that, I enjoyed it even more. Four stars.
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    The Lost Season of Love and Snow tells of the courtship, romance and marriage of Alexander Pushkin, Russia's premier poet, and his wife Natalya Goncharova in the early 1800s. While her words can be quite descriptive of the Russian settings, I know I am swimming upstream when I say that the characters appeared stilted and wooden to me, and the book was all too easy for me to put down.This "unforgettable love story" is not as advertised in my humble opinion. My apologies to NetGalley and St. Marti The Lost Season of Love and Snow tells of the courtship, romance and marriage of Alexander Pushkin, Russia's premier poet, and his wife Natalya Goncharova in the early 1800s. While her words can be quite descriptive of the Russian settings, I know I am swimming upstream when I say that the characters appeared stilted and wooden to me, and the book was all too easy for me to put down.This "unforgettable love story" is not as advertised in my humble opinion. My apologies to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press who were so gracious as to provide me an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
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  • Meghan Masterson
    January 1, 1970
    Jennifer Laam's latest is a beautiful, nuanced portrayal of a woman whose reputation through history hasn't been kind. Natalya Goncharova, wife of famed Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, is often blamed for his death in a duel. The Lost Season of Love and Snow paints a more sympathetic, realistic depiction of her as a complex person caught between politics and personal relationships. Her romance with creative, rebellious Alexander is passionate and often turbulent, and their scenes together light Jennifer Laam's latest is a beautiful, nuanced portrayal of a woman whose reputation through history hasn't been kind. Natalya Goncharova, wife of famed Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, is often blamed for his death in a duel. The Lost Season of Love and Snow paints a more sympathetic, realistic depiction of her as a complex person caught between politics and personal relationships. Her romance with creative, rebellious Alexander is passionate and often turbulent, and their scenes together light up the pages, making it impossible to put down. I gladly fell for Natalya within the first few pages, when I immediately related to her feelings about needing to wear glasses - and how often do we get heroines, especially historical, who wear them? I found myself thinking about the characters and their emotions and actions long after I'd read to the visceral conclusion. Highly recommended!
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  • Jill Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    It was maybe a 3.5, not just a 3... There was great promise - I really enjoyed the beginning and the history. Russian literature is such a fascinating subject, and I admit I didn't know much about the Pushkins before reading this one. I found it very interesting to learn how they came together, and to get a peek behind the curtain of Russian courtly/high society life in this particular era. The part I struggled with was the abrupt shift from a historical novel about women's roles in society and It was maybe a 3.5, not just a 3... There was great promise - I really enjoyed the beginning and the history. Russian literature is such a fascinating subject, and I admit I didn't know much about the Pushkins before reading this one. I found it very interesting to learn how they came together, and to get a peek behind the curtain of Russian courtly/high society life in this particular era. The part I struggled with was the abrupt shift from a historical novel about women's roles in society and the difficulties of life under the iron rule of the Tsar to a rather fluffy tale about a woman whose husband tells her to flirt her way through society so he can write - and who is then surprised when she likes the attention and he doesn't. Natalya starts out as a woman who wants freedom and opportunity, and rapidly becomes...a flighty flirt in over her head. Pushkin starts out brooding and uncertain yet interesting because of his inner passions, and rapidly becomes...annoying, not interesting, because of the other characteristics. True, it's not really that simple - but it's written to be nowhere near as complex as I'd imagine it actually was. It felt like the post-childbirth shift in the couple's relationship and fortune was rushed and over-simplified, and that short-changed both the characters and the story I think... It was still interesting, but not as much so as it would have been if the rich complexity of their personalities had remained in focus throughout the second half of the book.My review copy was provided by NetGalley.
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  • Melissa Jackson
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to read this one in its early stages and I was swept up in it even then. Unlike Laam’s first two novels, this one focuses solely on historical figures: Natalya Goncharova and her husband, the beloved poet, Alexander Pushkin. When Pushkin is killed in a duel fighting for his honor, many blamed Natalya for his death because of her dalliances, and is subsequently vilified. The Lost Season of Love and Snow presents the story from Natalya’s point of view. I connected with Natalya r I was lucky enough to read this one in its early stages and I was swept up in it even then. Unlike Laam’s first two novels, this one focuses solely on historical figures: Natalya Goncharova and her husband, the beloved poet, Alexander Pushkin. When Pushkin is killed in a duel fighting for his honor, many blamed Natalya for his death because of her dalliances, and is subsequently vilified. The Lost Season of Love and Snow presents the story from Natalya’s point of view. I connected with Natalya right away, even if her lifestyle was obviously vastly different from mine. She did what she could to remain educated, but also followed societal norms, as women were expected to. She’s a young girl trying to find her way in a world that’s dominated by men—from her own free-spirited husband who is allowed to act however he wishes without reproach (especially since he’s so admired for his talent), to the Tsar himself—a powerful figure whose advances are not so easily shucked off. I loved how her struggles with image and rumors are still issues women face today. When I finished the novel, I hurriedly researched her, wanting to learn more about her. I think that’s the best any historical author can wish for. I highly recommend this one to fans of historical fiction and feisty female heroines.
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  • CoffeeandInk
    January 1, 1970
    This isn’t my usual story to read, but I loved the title and the premise was on a bit of a theme because I had “I Was Anastasia” in my queue, two completely different books but both about Russia, with roughly one hundred years between them. Neither is Pushkin on my radar, but the author’s premise that his wife had likely been painted by a tainted brush by history, was appealing. Very well researched and flawlessly written with a tragic ending that ripped at my heartstrings—but…and this is me and This isn’t my usual story to read, but I loved the title and the premise was on a bit of a theme because I had “I Was Anastasia” in my queue, two completely different books but both about Russia, with roughly one hundred years between them. Neither is Pushkin on my radar, but the author’s premise that his wife had likely been painted by a tainted brush by history, was appealing. Very well researched and flawlessly written with a tragic ending that ripped at my heartstrings—but…and this is me and not the author, but the bugaboo of females in nearly every century was being forced into this submissive role where her marriage, at first, was only about changing houses and the view from the window. Gradually she learns how to be Mrs. Pushkin and survive in her role with revolution whispering around the edges of society…who wouldn’t go mad? The endless rounds of parties and costume making and setting up the marriageable sisters made my eyes cross after awhile, but that’s me. The story couldn’t be told otherwise, and I thought this was a great slice of historical fiction very well told.
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  • Ellie
    January 1, 1970
    Pros: + The history was very interesting, where concerned the Pushkins+ For a historical novel, it reads very easily but isn’t too short either+ As far as I’m aware, the characters were accurate and their real letters were studied for this novel+ The end was very bittersweet but I liked itCons:- The feminism was just...... basic at best- It’s kind of like the movies from the 90s trying to appeal to the radfem demographic? Like “My life would be better if I were A MAN” “My brothers are SO LUCKY A Pros: + The history was very interesting, where concerned the Pushkins+ For a historical novel, it reads very easily but isn’t too short either+ As far as I’m aware, the characters were accurate and their real letters were studied for this novel+ The end was very bittersweet but I liked itCons:- The feminism was just...... basic at best- It’s kind of like the movies from the 90s trying to appeal to the radfem demographic? Like “My life would be better if I were A MAN” “My brothers are SO LUCKY AND UNGRATEFUL” because they get to be assigned careers they hate? and care for your aging mother financially? It brings nothing new to the table- Also on the score of the feminism, Natalya is allowed to be unsatisfied with her life, BUT she compares herself to a serf. NO. That’s absolute madness and the height of ignorance to say. I have to give leeway, as this is based on real people, and the author isn’t responsible for what they do or say, but I feel that it’s clearly meant to be The Natalya Show and that the feminism is only meant for her. She has NO positive female relationships, except maybe with her aunt who later tells her to commit adultery, thus vilifying her, and Natalya never acknowledges that she maybe isn’t the only woman in the world who has problems that matter, except with her mother at the end, after we’ve long been forced to believe that she is a horrible witchWhat a tawdry tale.That’s all I’m really left with to say, because at the end of the day, that’s all this really was. Love and romance and drama and foolishness.The Lost Season of Love and Snow (please, will these titles go out of style yet? it takes forever to type) is a historical novel featuring the hated wife of one of Russia's most famous and revered poets, Alexander Pushkin. Natalya Pushkina, née Goncharova, was just sixteen when she met the already-beloved poet, and they promptly fell in love and married. Everything should've been roses and happiness, but alas, it was not meant to be.We open with the death of Alexander--which is, by Natalya's own admission, practically by her own hand. It is the cause of her husband's death that makes her so reviled by the people, but what TLSoLaS strives to say is that it was just as much Alexander's fault if anything, and that history is quick to vilify women without giving the situation any proper care or attention. Do I think it succeeded in telling Natalya's story? Yes. Do I wonder how true to life it was? Yes. Do I think it was interesting all the same? Kind of.The question is really, how did I enjoy it? Well, as an avid reader of Russian history, I was interested to read about an individual instead of an era, and in a time period I don't usually focus on. That’s what I was here for. I thought the actual Russianness of the story was a little under-explored--at this point in history, there was much European influence, but this book just didn't feel Russian. It could have been set anywhere, honestly, and I wouldn't have been any the wiser. Using patronymics and featuring the tsar just does not a Russian book make, and a Russian book is what I, perhaps naively, hoped for.It is, however, a relatively quick read (I read it in an afternoon and I'm a notoriously slow reader) and does its job. Natalya's side of the story is told in fairly interesting fashion. Alexander is shown to be a bloody passionate fool (not unexpected, no offense). Their love story was a little bit ... gross? at times? Which is mostly my own opinion, from the fact that their age gap was pretty wide and much of their love consisted of sex and sexism from Alexander, then later playing games, cheating, and basically being possessive and crazy enough to get yourself shot over it.I'm not blaming the book for some of this. Clearly, the Pushkins were slightly batshit, but I didn't feel deeply enough connected to the characters to find their batshittery endearing rather than just trying to the patience. Not to mention, Natalya has this monologuing tendency to lament over being a woman. Women had it bad. I know. In Russia especially, as they're revoltingly sexist even today, BUT, I know that already. I'm a woman, I know that sexism exists. The job of the author is to not tell me all about how being born a woman sucks a lot, because YAWN. There are a million better ways to write a narrative about a woman facing discrimination better than that brand of laziness--AND you fail entirely to make me feel for privileged Natalya's plight when she likens herself to a serf. Um. Serf women existed in this time period, right under Natalya's nose, and, UM, as people who were bought and sold like cattle, Natalya has the cushiest of all cushy lives by comparison.Clearly, I found her narration lacking. The tackling of the subject of sexism basic at best, offensively ignorant of the world at that time at worst. Now I'm willing to understand that, in all likelihood, Natalya Pushkina herself was ignorant and uncaring of the peasants around her. Not surprising, most of the bourgeoisie was. But the author has already shown two things: she wanted to write a feminist narrative, and she didn’t care about shoving modern perspective into it. So I find it hard to get behind in that respect.On less outraged notes, I will say that the writing flows easily and isn't too hard to stomach for a historical book. If you like scandal and skulduggery, with the pomp and frills of courtly couples, you might enjoy this. If you like dramatics and poets, I'm sure you'll like this. If you like your history light and your romance heavy, it's a done deal. A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for honest, unbiased review. Thank you!
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  • Jenny Buchta
    January 1, 1970
    As much as I hated to only give this book 3 stars, I honestly found it a bit forgettable. I had to reread the synopsis to remind myself what it was about, even though I read said novel only last week.I felt that there was too much of the story dedicated to the "pre-Pushkin" Natayla and not enough of the life they lived together, no matter how short. I also wanted to know more about Natayla's "post-Pushkin" life and about her children. I read that her daughter was quite the character herself!I lo As much as I hated to only give this book 3 stars, I honestly found it a bit forgettable. I had to reread the synopsis to remind myself what it was about, even though I read said novel only last week.I felt that there was too much of the story dedicated to the "pre-Pushkin" Natayla and not enough of the life they lived together, no matter how short. I also wanted to know more about Natayla's "post-Pushkin" life and about her children. I read that her daughter was quite the character herself!I look forward to more stories from this author, but hopefully with more exciting and entertaining characters.
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  • Patti Smith (Peppermint Ph.D.)
    January 1, 1970
    FTC Disclaimer: I received a copy of The Lost Season of Love and Snow from the publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. The review below and the opinions therein are my own and offered without bias. The WhyIt's no secret that I love historical fiction. Always have and probably always will. I've read a few books about the Tsars, Catherine the Great, and Anastasia. I had never heard of the Pushkins before this book.First ImpressionsHonestly...when the b FTC Disclaimer: I received a copy of The Lost Season of Love and Snow from the publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. The review below and the opinions therein are my own and offered without bias. The WhyIt's no secret that I love historical fiction. Always have and probably always will. I've read a few books about the Tsars, Catherine the Great, and Anastasia. I had never heard of the Pushkins before this book.First ImpressionsHonestly...when the book first arrived, I was a little disappointed in the cover. It felt sweet and romantic to me, and I'm not usually that kind of reader. As I began to read, once Natalya meets Alexander, I was even more worried that I would not like the book bc of the swoon factor.About the time the couple began to settle into married life and began having a family, I couldn't put the book down.Reading and SummaryNatalya was 16 when she met famous Russian poet, Alexander Pushkin. The beauty of her family, she was expected to carry the weight of the family's survival on her shoulders. She needed to marry well...essentially whatever it took.She fell in love with Alexander and he with her...so their futures were blinded somewhat to the early warning signs in their relationship including Natalya's need for some semblance of self beyond her beauty and Alexander's jealousness.It's no spoiler how the story ends.Alexander is killed in a duel defending Natalya's honor, and a country blames Pushkin's flirtatious wife for the downfall of more than one man.My PerspectivePositivesThings I'm Googling...the very best part of historical fiction to me :)the DecembristsAlexander PushkinNatalya PushkinaEvgeny OneginTsar NicholasCharlotte of PrussiaTsarskoye SeloFyodor Ivanovich Tolstoy - "The American"Georges d'Anthes and EkaterinaNatalya herself...after Googling some, I decided I agree with the author...Natalya was misunderstood...while beautiful and flirtatious, she was trying her best to live in a world that she perhaps was too independent for...a mind of her own, and it seemed she tried her best to do what was expected of her while also keep her creative husband creating...while also enjoying her own life.The reality of any creative relationship is that someone has to bring in an income. And someone has to keep the outsiders happy while waiting for the creative to create. And have babies, and keep servants, and dress nicely, and balance the household budgets, and smile just enough for the tsar while also keeping him at arm's length, etc, etc.The world they lived in had expectations, for Natalya, even more than the expectations for any other woman in her situation since she had to act in her father's stead where her sisters were concerned, and somehow she and Alexander had to meet those expectations. Theirs really was an almost impossible situation.I felt Natalya's story affected me somewhat like the story of Queen Katherine Parr. Both women were strong enough to live life within the confines of society but also still maneuvering more comfortable places within that stifling society. Neither disappeared when the men they were married to died either. Both married others and went on with their lives.I'll take that kind of history over swooning any day.NegativesSwooning never impresses me...I got tired of Alexander's whining. However, I feel after reading some of the author's writing about the book, that her intention was just that. Not only to show the feminist version of Natalya but to show a feminist version of society's expectations for men as well...men who may not live up to those expectations specifically.The fact that tsars, emperors, kings, rulers of any kind were able to take a woman, any woman he saw fit (married or not) and make her his makes my blood boil.The Bottom LineI enjoyed the book and am glad I didn't let my first impressions push me away from it. I'd still like to know more about Natalya.
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  • Lauralee
    January 1, 1970
    Actually, 2.5 stars!The Lost Season of Love and Snow is a biographical novel about Natalya Goncharova, the wife of Alexander Pushkin. At the age of sixteen, Natalya is beautiful and wants to write poetry. At her first ball, she attracts the attention of the most famous poet in Russia, Alexander Pushkin. She finds herself falling in love with him because of his writing and manages to persuade her reluctant mother to marry him. However, she soon finds that her marriage is not all rosy. Natalya fin Actually, 2.5 stars!The Lost Season of Love and Snow is a biographical novel about Natalya Goncharova, the wife of Alexander Pushkin. At the age of sixteen, Natalya is beautiful and wants to write poetry. At her first ball, she attracts the attention of the most famous poet in Russia, Alexander Pushkin. She finds herself falling in love with him because of his writing and manages to persuade her reluctant mother to marry him. However, she soon finds that her marriage is not all rosy. Natalya finds that there are people who are jealous of her because of her beauty. When her enemies spread rumors about Natalya’s unfaithfulness, Natalya must find a way to keep these rumors from tearing Natalya and Alexander apart. I admit that I did not know anything about Natalya or Alexander Pushkin until I started to read this novel. However, gaining from what I know from the book and my own research that began as I started reading The Lost Season of Love and Snow, Natalya is known as a femme fatale. She has been mostly disliked in history because of her alleged affair with George d’Anthes, drove her husband to a duel in her honor, and caused him to lose his life. The Lost Season of Love and Snow attempts to redeem her and show the story from her perspective. While the novel tries to portray Natalya as a sympathetic and misunderstood character, I did not see her as such. I found Natalya to be a very frustrating character, and I could see why she is regarded as a villain in Russian history. Natalya is portrayed as a vain and superficial character. She wants nothing more than to dress up as ancient beauties, have fun at balls, and wants men to admire her. In fact, she does not want her admirers to love anyone but her for the rest of their lives. She loves to toy with men’s feelings. Thus, even though she claims to love Alexander, it is obvious she does not. Instead, she only wants Alexander to worship her. If she actually loved him, she would not have hurt Alexander by flirting and toying with other men’s affections. Overall, this was not a deep, but superficial portrayal of Natalya Pushkin. The characters are not complex, but rather static characters. The writing was beautiful but sometimes repetitive. I also thought the epilogue, where she meets her second husband, was a bit jarring and off-putting because it was supposed to focus on her “love” with Alexander. I think it would have been better if it was only mentioned in the author’s novel. Thus, I would have enjoyed the novel more had the characters been more complex and the epilogue ended differently. Therefore I think that this novel did not do Natalya justice. However, I’m glad that that the novel has introduced me to this intriguing figure and hope there may be more books written about her. The Lost Season of Love and Snow may appeal to readers of Michelle Moran, Sallie Christie, and Marci Jefferson.(Note: I read an ARC copy of this book in courtesy of Netgalley.)
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  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    I was generously sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the publishers.This is a fictional retelling of Natalia Nikolaevna Goncharova, the last wife of the famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin and their love story in the 1830s during the reign of Tsar Nicholas told from the perspective of Natalia herself. A woman who was rumored to be a flirt, may have had affairs with several prominent men and is believed to have selfishly caused the death of her husband.It has often be I was generously sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the publishers.This is a fictional retelling of Natalia Nikolaevna Goncharova, the last wife of the famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin and their love story in the 1830s during the reign of Tsar Nicholas told from the perspective of Natalia herself. A woman who was rumored to be a flirt, may have had affairs with several prominent men and is believed to have selfishly caused the death of her husband.It has often been said that there are two sides to every story and I believe this is true which is one of the reasons why this book was so fascinating. It was a pleasure to be immersed in Russia during a time when Russia was known for its fashion, parties and nobility just as much if not more than the English. Natalia knew shortly after her marriage to Pushkin that she was a bit in over her head when it came to trying to be among the social Imperial court, a loving wife and dutiful daughter with a husband who was known to be one of the greatest poets of his time but also known as a rebel though luckily he was able to keep his head so to speak and was loved by many.Their first year together was mostly full of wonderful times spent together but alas it was not meant to last and sometimes even the best intentions to not work out though it's obvious they loved each other. Alas it is easy to get caught up in the daily struggles of life, the stress of finances and the downside of what can come from being famous. Be prepared to be caught up in the daily life of the Russian upper class, the struggles of trying to be a proper woman according to society and learning how sometimes passion can lead to a heartbreaking end.I don't know a lot about the real events that led to the demise of Pushkin but this book has sparked my curiosity to learn about these two unlikely people who fell in love, had several children and may have had a long life together had a duel not gotten into the way. For those who enjoy mid 19th Century Russia, Pushkin and life in Tsar Nicholas's court, this is the kind of book that you just might want to check out and if you're not into those kinds of things, you just may still enjoy this different take on the Pushkins. I highly recommend this book and I'm glad that I was given a chance to read it!
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  • SUZAN C.
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, what a sad and haunting story. The Lost Season of Love and Snow began rather tragically with the tale of a brief love story between Alexander Pushkin and his wife, Natalya. The author's words are so descriptive, I felt transferred to the tumultuous Tsar era where royalty and defiance ruled the country. I was truly saddened after reading the book and felt that young Natalya's life should have been better. She should have been treated better by the outsiders who claimed to have loved and appr Wow, what a sad and haunting story. The Lost Season of Love and Snow began rather tragically with the tale of a brief love story between Alexander Pushkin and his wife, Natalya. The author's words are so descriptive, I felt transferred to the tumultuous Tsar era where royalty and defiance ruled the country. I was truly saddened after reading the book and felt that young Natalya's life should have been better. She should have been treated better by the outsiders who claimed to have loved and appreciated her husband's work.Natayla and Alexander fell in love almost immediately but since he was much older than her, he was careful to treat her with respect and understanding. Many men back then might have treated a young and beautiful woman much differently, but it seemed that Alexander had truly loved his wife. Of course, she was very intelligent and bright and was well matched with the brilliant author who only had eyes for his beloved wife.The injustices that came and went with Natayla and Alexander were very well written. She was quite lonely at times when her husband would go off on his writing journeys leaving her very much alone. She was young and inexperienced so the attention of another man and even that of the current Tsar had tempted her. And while I couldn't really blame her due to her naivete, it was still quite sad how the author described Alexander's push to defend the honor of his wife. While the author indicated that Natayla had stayed faithful to Alexander, I was still heartbroken at her loneliness and how she was literally used by George, a wealthy Frenchman, and the Tsar, Nicolas. The Lost Season of Love and Snow is told in the perspective of Natayla but it is interwoven with the intricate narrative of Natayla's perception of her life with Alexander and how after the death of her husband, she realized that she truly had to "grow up" of sorts. The author also included an Author's Note where it described her reasoning and belief of what happened between Alexander and Natayla and the rumors of her love affairs. Alexander might even have had an unfaithful thought or two, but alas, he was written to have been madly in love with Natalya. And that was where the heartbreak truly gripped me. It was a brief and powerful love that should have lasted a lifetime.
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