Paperback: 442 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (September 20, 2016)
In a sweeping story straight out of Russian history, Tsar Alexander I and a courageous girl named Nadezhda Durova join forces against Napoleon.
It’s 1803, and an adolescent Nadya is determined not to follow in her overbearing Ukrainian mother’s footsteps. She’s a horsewoman, not a housewife. When Tsar Paul is assassinated in St. Petersburg and a reluctant and naive Alexander is crowned emperor, Nadya runs away from home and joins the Russian cavalry in the war against Napoleon. Disguised as a boy and riding her spirited stallion, Alcides, Nadya rises in the ranks, even as her father begs the tsar to find his daughter and send her home.
Both Nadya and Alexander defy expectations—she as a heroic fighter and he as a spiritual seeker—while the battles of Austerlitz, Friedland, Borodino, and Smolensk rage on.
In a captivating tale that brings Durova’s memoirs to life, from bloody battlefields to glittering palaces, two rebels dare to break free of their expected roles and discover themselves in the process.
Review: This book left me with mixed feelings. I loved the subject matter. A girl in the 1800's that masquerades as a boy to join the cavalry.
I am a huge fan of historical fiction, but for some reason this book didn't really resonate with me the way I would have wanted it to.
Nadya is an impressive woman. She's starts out almost tomboyish, but that isn't even accurate. She's a girl who really was raised as a son. Her mother has no love for her, and one scene as the baby Nadya tossed out of a carriage window because her mother couldn't calm her.
The story is based on Nadya's memoirs "The Calvary Maid".
She was a fascinating person and I found myself really interesting in Nadya's life. (Sadly a little more than the book)
Today Nadya would likely be considered transgender. She certainly identified more as a man than as a woman.
The story is totally fascinating and if I weren't in a total reading slump, I think I would have enjoyed it so much more.
Rating: 4 flowers