The Ice Swan by J’nell Ciesielski - 2021
This is part of my participation for this year
Works read so far for Paris in July 2021
- Lost in Paris by Elizabeth Thompson - 2021
- Loving Modigliani by Linda Lappin - 2020
- Russian Émirgé Short Stories from Bunin to Yanovsky - edited by Bryan Karetnky. 2018 - an overview
- Pancakes in Paris - Living The American Dream in France by Craig Carlson - 2016
- The Paris Apartment by Kelly Bowen- 2021
- The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure - 2013
- “Requiem” - A short story by Gaito Gazdanov - 1960
- “Paris” - A Short Story by Ivan Bunin -1942
This year I am focusing a bit on Russian Émigrés in Paris, people driven out by the Revolution. About 75,000 or so went to Paris. The classic figure is a former Grand Duke working as a waiter, or like Gaito Gazadanov, writer by day and Paris cab driver by night. Many at first thought they would soon be going home when the Russian Civil War was won by the White Russian Armies. Of course this did not happen
The Ice Swan by J’neil Ciesielski, just published this week, is an exciting romantic account of the life of a Russian Princess who fled Saint Petersburg with her mother and younger sister to avoid being killed by Bolsheviks. They had jewels sown into the lining of their clothes. Used to being very rich with servants doing everything, they are reduced to just surviving in Paris. The “The Reds” had agents looking for aristocratic Émigrés to be taken home for execution.
Petrograd - 1917 - Princess Svetlana Dalsky, about 21, along with her mother and younger sister Marisa barely escape death by the Reds onto a train bound out of the country. Her father and her brother Nicky remain in Russia fighting to restore the Tsar. They arrive in Paris with little more than the Jewels in their corsets. They have to live almost in hiding from Bolshevik agents. They have to give a ruby for a loaf of bread.
The male romantic lead is a Scottish Doctor, from a very wealthy family, working in a military hospital in Paris. Wynn MacCallan is the second son of a Scottish Duke but his passion is his work as a surgeon, taking care of wounded soldiers. One day he sees Svetlana injured by some glass thrown at her and he treats her. She is, of course, very beautiful, he is intrigued he followers her into an underground Russian nightclub. This club is owned by a sinister Russian who knows everything going on in the Émigré community. The club is the social hub of Émigre
Paris, full of dancing, vodka, and shady deals. The doctor had earlier treated the owner’s son when he was shot so he has an in.
Svetlana begins to run up debts to the club owner, made worse by her mother’s bar tabs. She agrees to marry the doctor who will settle her debts and get her to his castle in Scotland.
What made the story exciting for me were the numerous plot lines, the development of relationships, watching the Russians adjust. There are lots of surprises and cliff hangers to keep you eagerly reading on.
Inspirational Romance Author
With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the INSPY and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle.” From https://jnellciesielski.com/. There is data on her other books on her website.