The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers
If you think you know ballet, Kerri Turner may just turn that on its head. Expertly weaving dance theory and history in her debut novel, the ballet world she has created in The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers is beautiful, daring, deceptive and a surprising mix indeed. Set in 1914 against the backdrop of the tensions that eventually explode into the
Russian Revolutions (which gave rise to the Soviet Union), the novel follows ambitious ballet dancers Valentina Yershova (who is quite unlikeable at the beginning) and Luka Zhirkov. Both from poor backgrounds and fighting for a meaningful place in the aristocratic world of the Romanov Imperial Ballet Company in Petrograd (now St Petersburg), the two find themselves staring down social constraints while trying to rise above vindictive backroom politics, and that’s just at the company. As the war takes hold, everything Valentina and Luka know and have strived for becomes a symbol of overindulgence and greed, making them targets, and the two are left fighting not just for each other but for their lives.