I absolutely loved "Lilac Girls" so I had really high hopes for this prequel - and luckily, I was not disappointed! Kelly writes with such incredible historical detail that it actually feels like you're transported back in time.
In this novel, the story is told from three different perspectives during WWI: Eliza, an American woman trying to rebuild her life after a tragedy; Sofya, Eliza's dearest friend who is struggling to survive the upheaval in Russia, and Varinka, another young Russian girl who gets caught up in the Bolshevik revolution. Each character is so well-developed and each one has an equally interesting POV that keeps the book going at breakneck speed. There are so many great twists and turns in this book, so that you feel the extremely high stakes that accompany war. Kelly isn't afraid to go pretty dark (although she's just being truthful to the time period and its monstrosities.)
There are some throwbacks to the first book, but they can be read independently too. I cannot wait to read the third book in this series - it's amazing that many of the characters in Kelly's books are inspired by real people. I can't get enough!
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