Lost Roses Not Awful but not Great

Lost Roses not awful but not great

Lost Roses is the prequel to The Lilac Girls. Some of you who read my Lilac Girls review who know its based on a true story are wondering, “Wait a minute? Isn’t Lilac Girls a true story? How can there be a prequel or a sequel to that?” Well it’s a prequel and while Caroline is in the prequel she’s not the main character in this story, her mother Eliza Ferriday is in this book. This prequel takes place during World War I and the Russian Revolution. Eliza’s best friend Sofya Streshnayva is a cousin to the Romanov family that ruled Russia. If anyone who is a Romanov buff like I am, then you know sadly their fate was tragic. Then there is Varinka the daughter of a fortune teller that becomes a nanny to Sofya’s son Max. I ordered this book last year from Amazon and I immediately became hooked in because this would be about Carolines mother and it had the Russian Revolution in it, but then I eventually became bored really quick. Perhaps I wasn’t in the mood at the time? I ended up putting the book back on the shelf and decided I’d come back to reading it later. Well it became a year later, and during a virus no less. Lost Roses wasn’t awful but it wasn’t great.


Real People/Characters in the Story

Eliza Ferriday is Caroline’s mother. She is also an American Socialite who helps people. When the Russian Revolution hits, she helps her friend Sofya and other Russian nobles and royals assimilate to life in America. Other than that I didn’t think she was that likeable.


Sofya Streshnayva I enjoyed. Her character is related to the Romanov’s. Even though Eliza wasn’t my favorite to read about, I did enjoy reading about Sofya and Eliza when they were together, especially when they were in Russia and they met Olga Romanov for the first time. I do like the fact that Sofya despite her family wealth, she doesn’t hoard it and she cares about the Russian people and not just the upper class. I also liked her sister Luba she’s a mature child interested in astronomy.


Varinka I felt sympathy for in the beginning. She’s being abused sexually by Taras, in order for him to support the family. Varinka’s mother is a fortune teller. Varinka then becomes unlikeable when she basically never gives back Max to Sofya when the revolution is done and yet she doesn’t take care of him. It also annoys me at how Varinka makes excuses for basically not doing enough to stop Taras and his prison buddy and everyone involved in the revolution for doing the evil stuff they did all because she felt the poor deserved the good things the rich had. Things were rough for the common people in Russia but that didn’t mean the rich deserved what happened to them. I loved it when Varinka’s mother puts Varinka in her place.



I didn’t enjoy this story like I thought I would. I didn’t think a lot of the people were that likeable and the characters that I did like turned out to not be real people at all. Sofya wasn’t even real apparently she was based off of a different cousin of the Romanov’s. Varinka is not based on anyone we know of, but Martha Hall Kelly wanted to write a peasants point of view about how hard life was for them which I understand but if Sofya and Varinka aren’t even real people, and all we know is Eliza set  up that group that would help Russian nobles and royals fleeing Russia during and after the revolution then we really didn’t need this prequel about Caroline’s mother in my opinion. There were also things that seemed convoluted and unrealistic I will mention one example but no more as I don’t want to put on the expression that all I’m doing is bashing this book. A man who was a friend of Eliza’s husband whose in love with Eliza is wounded and while Eliza is looking for her friend Sofya, she conveniently finds him in a hospital for wounded soldiers in Paris. As I stated above this book wasn’t the worst but it wasn’t the best. I will continue reading more from Martha Hall Kelly because I love her writing and her ability to make history come alive. Despite Lost Roses not being my favorite, I can’t wait to see what more she has in store.