*AD-gifted: A copy of The Girl From The Hermitage was gifted in exchange for this post. Affiliate links in this post will be clearly marked with a *
Today it’s my turn to be on the blog tour with The Girl From The Hermitage by Molly Gartland. I have to say it was the intriguing cover and blurb that drew me to this book. Before I go on to share my review, here is a little bit about it.
Galina was born into a world of horrors. So why does she mourn its passing?
It is December 1941, and eight-year-old Galina and her friend Vera are caught in the siege of Leningrad, eating wallpaper soup and dead rats. Galina’s artist father Mikhail has been kept away from the front to help save the treasures of the Hermitage. Its cellars could provide a safe haven, as long as Mikhail can survive the perils of a commission from one of Stalin’s colonels.
Three decades on, Galina is a teacher at the Leningrad Art Institute. What ought to be a celebratory weekend at her forest dacha turns sour when she makes an unwelcome discovery. The painting she starts that day will hold a grim significance for the rest of her life, as the old Soviet Union makes way for the new Russia and her world changes out of all recognition.
Warm, wise and utterly enthralling, Molly Gartland’s debut novel guides us from the old communist era, with its obvious terrors and its more surprising comforts, into the bling of 21st-century St Petersburg. Galina’s story is an insightful meditation on ageing and nostalgia as well as a compelling page-turner.
What I Thought
I have to start off with this. The part where you read about Mikhail scrapping wallpaper from the corridor wall to boil up the paste for Galina to eat is heartbreaking. It really brings home how most of us are privileged today. This section really got to me. As a mum to two girls and a softy at heart, it brought tears to my eyes.
The Girl from the Hermitage is beautifully written. The descriptions of things we may see every day are described with care and great attention to detail. It’s really refreshing to read.
Brilliant. Tender. Moving. Strength. Survival are the words I would use to describe this book.
It gave me a perfect insight into Russia during the 1940s and onwards throughout the years and of course life in the Soviet Union. I haven’t read much about these times, but after reading this book, It’s a part of history I would be interested in finding out more about. I would highly recommend giving The Girl From The Hermitage a read.
Where To Buy
If you pop over to Eye Books, you can get 20% off with discount code HERMITAGETOUR and Free UK p&p.
About The Author
Originally from Michigan, Molly Gartland worked in Moscow from 1994 to 2000 and has been fascinated by Russian culture ever since.
She has an MA in Creative Writing from St Mary’s University, Twickenham and lives in London.
The manuscript for her debut novel The Girl from the Hermitage was shortlisted for the Impress Prize and longlisted for the Mslexia Novel Competition, the Bath Novel Award and Grindstone Novel Award.
Blog Tour Stops For The Girl From The Hermitage
Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post.
You can check out my book case of past reviews here.