Amor Towles has written an elegantly worded story about Alexander Rostov, an aristocrat who was sentenced to house arrest in the grand Metropol hotel in Moscow. Set in 1922 when being an aristocrat was considered dangerous to the new Bolshevik regime, this fascinating glimpse into life at that time captured my heart, as did Alexander Rostov.
You may think Alexander’s life would be encapsulated, and in some ways it was. He couldn’t leave the Metropol, but as it was located across the street from the Kremlin, everyone at some point passed through its doors. Alexander, used to living in the upper eschelon of society, did have to make changes. Gone were the large room of suites he had inhabited before his sentence. He was now relegated to life in a room the size of a closet. However, his life was really lived outside of his rooms. He dined in the beautiful restaurants in the hotel and his family became the people who worked and stayed in the hotel. His culture and charm are completely alien to the age we live in now, but the wording was so descriptive that I could easily visualize it, although I’ll admit to seeing it’s scenes in black and white, with Cary Grant cast as Alexander.
The true heart in this story were in the relationships he built with the people around him. Nina, a young girl of six at the beginning of this book was his adventurous friend who led him on a journey of secret passageways and scientific experiments. His friend Mischa, who came and went from the hotel bringing news about the outside world and the political changes Russia was going through. Anna, an actress that he builds a longstanding relationship with, Marina, the seamstress and friend, and his evolving relationship with the Maitre’d and chef at the restaurant who eventually become his best friends. Sophia, however was the relationship that helped Alexander evolve beyond a gentleman into a father. Their relationship at times touched and broke my heart.
I listened to the audio for this book and while it was long, Nicholas Guy Smith’s voice wove this tale and did justice to the beautiful prose. The story of Russia’s growth from a monarchy to communism was a part of history that I wasn’t that familiar but became enraptured. I will definitely be looking for more books from this era. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Click the link to purchase this book! A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel
Copyright 2017 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved