I wish I had read these books in order, but they were written out of order. I just finished the prequel to The Lilac Girls, Lost Roses.
An excellent, warm and sometimes harrowing tale.

This is an excellent book for book clubs, and if I hadn’t already earned a reputation of recommending only novels to mine, I would do so. Kelly published Lost Roses as a prequel to The Lilac Girls, set in WWII (reviewed earlier on PWR). This 2019 publication is set just as WWI threatens in 1914. It is a historical novel which features the Russian Revolution and deals with women’s friendships.

Eliza Ferriday, an American, is a friend of Sofya Streshnayva, a cousin of the Ramanovs in Russia. The novel deals with the rise and fall of that dynasty . As Austria declares war on Serbia, Eliza returns to America, never dreaming her dear friend Sofya and her family will soon be trapped on their country estate. As the Russian Revolution breaks out, and the peasants take things into their own hands, Sofya hires Varinka, a fortune-teller’s daughter to be a nanny to her toddler son, Max. The intersecting of the lives of these three women is what propels the plot forward, creating memorable characters as the author spins her remarkable tale. Each chapter is headed by one of the three characters’ names and by the year, which keeps things orderly and at the same time presents what is going on simultaneously in those women’s lives.

This is definitely a “find” and a darned good read.


Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 plus years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."


  1. Great review, Rae and I am glad to hear you enjoyed it. I read the first couple of chapters when it first came out, but didn’t finish it. At the time, I couldn’t get into it. I will have to try again.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: