It was a bit difficult to get into this book. The names are unusual, of course, and hard for me to pronounce in my head as I read. The dialogue is handled differently from what we do in the States – it’s not set off by quotation marks, but rather put on a separate line with a hyphen and italicized.
Those are minor things. I kept reading and was rewarded with a fascinating story with layers of emotions and a tale that takes place in a country and time I know little about. The back of the book contains questions for a Reading Group. You can look through those and get a glimpse of how complicated and layered this book is.
Here is the back cover blurb:
Stalin is dead, and the brutal Soviet regime once held together by fear is beginning to unravel, leaving behind a society where the police are the bloodiest criminals of all. Former Secret Police Officer, Leo Demidov is struggling to put his former career behind him, to make a life for himself, his wife, Raisa, and the two young sisters they adopted. But will the mistrust and betrayals from Leo’s own past shatter his family’s ability to love and forgive—or destroy them in ways unimaginable?The Secret Speech is a gripping story that will keep you reading. There are times you won’t like Demidov for the things he has done. There are times you’ll desperately hope he survives and regains his adopted daughters and wife. You’ll also wonder how these characters could do the things they did. They are, however, true to the times and to their situations. Once you get into the story, you’ll keep reading every chance you get.
I give The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith a: Hel-Yeah!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~FTC Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the Hachette Book Group, but that’s not why I’m recommending it, nor did it influence my review. Here in the States, we learn about history when we’re in high school. Mostly United States history, but a bit of world history as well. You can take World History in college also. It tends to be watered down, adjusted to fit the sensibilities of the day (don’t even get me started on what Texas has done to its textbooks). That’s why it’s important to read books written outside the U.S. or written about times and worlds outside the U.S., both fiction and nonfiction. It’s a good idea to go places, too. I’d suggest Russia, but it’s pretty smoky there right now. Hmm, wonder if my next book to be read is set in a resort on a Caribbean island? They don’t teach that much in high school either.