I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Mirrored World by Debra Dean
Published by Harper on August 28th 2012
Genres: Historical Fiction
The critically acclaimed author of The Madonnas of Leningrad (“Elegant and poetic, the rare kind of book that you want to keep but you have to share” —Isabel Allende), Debra Dean returns with The Mirrored World, a breathtaking novel of love and madness set in 18th century Russia. Transporting readers to St. Petersburg during the reign of Catherine the Great, Dean brilliantly reconstructs and reimagines the life of St. Xenia, one of Russia’s most revered and mysterious holy figures, in a richly told and thought-provoking work of historical fiction that recounts the unlikely transformation of a young girl, a child of privilege, into a saint beloved by the poor.
The Mirrored World tells the story of the life of Xenia, who later became the mysterious and holy figure St. Xenia of St. Petersburg. The story begins when she was a young child growing up in Russia, continues on with her marriage to Colonel Andrei Feodorovich Petrov, whom she loved terribly, and then her terrible grief after losing both her child and the love of her life. In order for her to come to terms with her grief she became a “holy fool” and devoted her life to caring for the poor.
It took me a good chunk of the book to really feel I had an understanding of what was going on. When you consider the synopsis, you would expect to be learning about the life of Xenia. Well, for a vast majority of the first part of the book you really didn’t see a lot of her. The story is told by her cousin, Dasha, and I think that had a negative effect as I would have loved to have read this story from Xenia’s point of view to better determine who she was. Maybe it was because of the lack of information known of Xenia’s life but despite being an extremely short read still ended up being dreadfully dull at times and I struggled to finish. Definitely had potential but failed to impress in the long run.