Imogen Edwards-Jones and the blog tour for her new book, The Witches of St. Petersburg joins Novel Kicks today.
The Russian Empire is on the verge of collapse. Revolution is in the air. The starving stalk the streets of St Petersburg and yet the Imperial Court still commute between their estates and organise their lavish balls.
Two sisters arrive in the city. Princesses from Montenegro; they are famed for their wild beauty and mystical powers. Initially ridiculed and outcast as the daughters of a provincial ‘Goat King’, they react in the only way they know how. They befriend the isolated Tsarina Alexandra and, using their gifts, they help her in her increasingly desperate quest to give birth to a son and heir. The circle closes. The girls are the gateway. Gurus, clairvoyants, holy fools and charlatans all try their luck. Then in one last, doomed, throw of the dice, the sisters introduce Rasputin into the Russian Court…
Based on the true story of the lives of Princess Militza and Princess Anastasia of Montenegro during the dying days of the Russian Empire, The Witches of St Petersburg is a tale of love, lust, power and betrayal at the heart of the Romanov Court.
Although I don’t know too much about it, this part of Russian history has always held a fascination for me and is why I wanted to read this novel especially as it is based on a true story.
Militza was the most fascinating character for me. Her relationship with her sister was also intriguing. There are very much outsiders and I can relate to that.
The overall setting was written so vividly and with much detail. You can tell how much work and love went into writing this book.
I did find it hard to keep up with who everyone was to begin with. There was a few times where I had to refer to the handy character guide at the beginning but this wasn’t a huge deal; just hard to keep up with all the Russian names.
The plot is engaging and had me wanting to keep reading. It has also made me want to find out more about this period in history.
This book has such a fantastic gothic feel to it and is a perfect novel to read especially at this time of year.
It has magic and witchcraft but it also looks at the position of women in that time and how they were pretty much used as a business transaction regardless of their feelings.
I can’t say too much about it as I don’t want to give anything away. A great book that is written well and has a beautiful cover.
She is author of some 20 books including the well-received travel book – The Taming of Eagles – about the first 100 days of the collapse of Communism, (after which she went on to present the BBC Radio 4 documentary– Bucks in the USSR). Her novels include My Canapé Hell, Shagpile, The Wendy House and Tuscany for Beginners. She has co-edited Big Night Out (the celebrity collection of short stories with contributions from Kate Moss to Bob Geldof, in aid of the War Child charity) and In Bed With a collection of erotic short stories with contributions from Fay Weldon and Esther Freud. She has also ghosted various memoirs for TV personalities.
She was responsible for the hugely successful Babylon series, which includes the Sunday Times best sellers Hotel Babylon, Air Babylon, Fashion Babylon, Beach Babylon and Pop Babylon. The series has sold over 1 million copies in the UK alone, been translated into some twenty different languages worldwide and made into two BBC Primetime TV shows.
The Witches of St. Petersburg was released by Head of Zeus. It is available in most UK book shops and online. Click to view on Amazon UK.