Cover Image: Red Mistress

Red Mistress

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I have not read much about the Russian Revolution so I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was very well researched and written. It is about survival, spies, and. secrets.and is rich in historical detail.  
Many thanks to Lake Union Publishing and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Was this review helpful?
i really enjoyed this read, I really liked Nadia's journey into being a spy. It was a believable turn and I really enjoyed reading this from beginning to end.
Was this review helpful?
This is a book filled with twists and turns and plenty of back stabbing.  Nadia becomes a former person because of the Russian Revolution.  This is her tale of heartache and triumphs.  She learns how to live as her servants did, but she is able to overcome servitude by her life choices.

Very well written and held my attention from early on.  The plot has plenty of twists and turns.  There are 2 plot lines and it is interesting to see how they fit together in the end.  Recommend for fans of WW fiction.
Was this review helpful?
A good example of an historical novel based on fact. The story of Nadia Shulkina and her aristocratic Russian family gives you a taste of their lives before the Russian Revolution and how they are changed during and after as Former People. 

It isn't clear if Red Mistress is a spy novel or a love story, but it does still give an insight in to what people are capable of if their life or the lives of their family depends on it.

I was given a copy of Red Mistress by NetGalley and the publishers in return for an unbiased review.
Was this review helpful?
Paris, 1920.  A woman becomes a spy.  The story is often told.  But this book has some interesting characters and a storyline that is compelling.  Recommended read
Was this review helpful?
Thank you Netgalley, Lake Union Publishing and Elizabeth Blackwell for free e-ARC in return of my honest review. 

Sometimes I get this instant weird connection with the book, and I know that I would love it to the last page. Red Mistress is the one, it just speaks my reading language. I love everything about it from vintage cover to the love story. And I am super judgmental of love stories. As soon as I saw it, I knew instantly I’d love it! I was not disappointed one bit. Probably, even more impressed. 

Nadia Shulkina, is a youngest daughter of somewhat aristocratic family in Imperial Russia, with some land, connections and servants. She is privileged and doesn’t see herself that way as it was always the way. All of a sudden Bolsheviks come to power and her life changes in radical way. In spite of Nadia’s aristocratic upbringing, she is a hardworking young woman and isn’t afraid of any work to survive and take  care of her fragile mother. Her life changes again when she comes across late family friend, new Bolshevik, Alik. 

Red Mistress is beautifully written. The flow is smooth, the plot is intriguing, the characters come alive with every page. It made me feel nostalgic, it made me want to go back and see places from my childhood. However, as Nadia’s childhood places got destroyed in the revolution, mine were also devastated during turbulent 90s. I am like Nadia, have basically nothing to return too but the sense of belonging to Russia is forever strong. 

Red Mistress will definitely stay with me for a long long time, and I hope one day I will pick it again to reminisce about old good days.
Was this review helpful?
I was captivated from beginning to end! Cleverly structured, and well written to make you think you know what's happening and then to reveal that you don't. I couldn't put it down because I wanted to know what happened next.

The story alternates from the story of Nadia Shulkina, a young Russian Aristocrat in early 1914, and reports from London in 1938 about the death of a young woman named Marie Duvall. It is a poignant story about love, family, control, and a person's choices or lack thereof. It questions what lengths to which someone will go to protect someone they love. Set initially in Russia at the beginning of turmoil, there is an underlying tension through the story: a need for survival but contrasted with moments of hope, and the possibility of freedom. 

Thrilling, moving, and interesting... would recommend without hesitation!

I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I returned it because it didn’t hold my interest.  I read books that capture my interest from the beginning!
Was this review helpful?
Red Mistress is my idea of the perfect historical fiction novel, as it has almost all of my favorite historical fiction elements: an interesting and well-researched time period, an immersive setting, Russian politics, espionage, war, forbidden romance, and a strong female protagonist. It's almost as if Elizabeth Blackwell wrote this book with my preferences in mind.
Was this review helpful?
Red Mistress is a historical fiction novel that begins in 1914 in pre revolutionary Saint Petersburg. It tells the story of Nadia Kushlinka, whose family is considered aristocratic. Nadia’s mother is French and her “au pair”, Mrs. Fields, was hired from London, to teach Nadia and her brother Vasily, English. When the revolution begins, Vasily goes off to fight, And life changes completely for Nadia. She must reinvent herself, in order to survive. Lucky for her, her language skills serve her extremely well .... 
Red Mistress is a great historical fiction read. 

After finishing the book I watched author @elizabethblackwellbooks speak about writing the book and all the research that went into covering all the different time periods (and cities: Saint Petersburg, Paris, London). (She is the author in the top left corner in the 2nd photo). This FB live event really explained ALL THE WORK that goes into writing a book like this, (ALOT). 

Well, @elizabethblackwellbooks, I am posting this #5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review for #redmistress. I really enjoyed reading it, and I especially enjoyed listening to you (and all the other historical fiction authors) talk about writing historical fiction. 
Thank you @NetGalley and @lakeunionauthors for my copy of Red Mistress in return for my honest review. 

#historicalfiction #bolshevik #saintpetersburg #petrograd #paris #london #espionage #summerreads #beachreads
Was this review helpful?
Historical Fiction the Way It Ought to Be

I love to read historical fiction, but I don't think I've read one before that was set around the time of the Russian Revolution with a female lead. Back when I was in high school at the height of the Cold War, I actually took a class in Russian history. The author has done an amazing amount of research to make this feel realistic and believable. She has certainly created a strong, sympathetic heroine who had and then lost much as a part of the Bolshevik Revolution. You can appreciate her will to survive as best she can. I like books that show the sweep of history through the lens of a small group of people who are caught up in its currents. The author achieves that here. The writing style is immersive, which I am a fan of, particularly in historical fiction (where I don't think it is particularly easy). Highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
Red Mistress is my idea of the perfect historical fiction novel, as it has almost all of my favorite historical fiction elements: an interesting and well-researched time period, an immersive setting, Russian politics, espionage, war, forbidden romance, and a strong female protagonist. It's almost as if Elizabeth Blackwell wrote this book with my preferences in mind. 

I haven't read much historical fiction lately--mainly because it seems like everyone and their mother keep writing more books set during WWII, and a girl can only read so many WWII novels before she gets sick of them. Not that fiction set during WWI is all that much less abundant, but I hadn't read a good WWI novel with a good, non-Western, female POV character since 'Nam and I was itching for a fix. 

I loved everything about the story: the characters, the plot, the setting, the drama, the politics. Everything. And it was quite clear that the author did her due diligence in researching the time period and making the story feel realistic. I was ecstatic to learn that Red Mistress wasn't Elizabeth Blackwell's first novel, so that once I finish making my way through my stack of ARCs, I don't have to wait for her write a new novel and can instead start reading her older books, which I'm confident will be awesome, given how much I enjoyed this book. 

Do yourself a favor and pick up this book ASAP.
Was this review helpful?
Set during the Russian Revolution and pre WWII France, Red Mistress tells the story of Nadia and her struggle to survive. I have not read any books set in Russia during this era so I absolutely loved learning more about the Revolution. While this story is more character driven, which I don't normally enjoy, there was enough action to make the pages fly by.

I have been recommending this book to everyone who loves historical fiction! I will be trying to learn more about this era on my own as well.
Was this review helpful?
A young girl whose family are aristocrats in Russia during the Russian Revolution, sees the downfall of her family and is forced into the position of taking care of them, which leads her into doing things she never dreamed she would have to do.I
I enjoyed this book a lot. It was well written and grabbed my interest from the beginning. The characters where well developed and interesting and the plot was different. 
Giving a 4 star rating!

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher and author for an ARC of this book. The opinions expressed are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Red Mistress by Elizabeth Blackwell is an enjoyable historical fiction that encompasses the rise the rise and events of the Russian Revolution, and the immediate years thereafter.

This story is about Nadia whom was a part of the Russian royals/aristocracy during the time of this upheaval. Many were arrested and executed. A few were able to flee to other countries, where their lives were drastically altered and became impoverished. Others were lucky enough to find family, friends, or trades that allowed them to survive. Nadia was able to marry and involve herself with the Bolsheviks and then later became a spy of sorts in France. Mystery, suspense, intrigue, and also surprisingly, love/romance are all themes that are incorporated into this entertaining and enjoyable HF. 

I enjoyed the plot/time frame, the character cast, and also the ending. I also enjoyed the author’s note on what was real vs fiction. 

4/5 stars

Thank you NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for this ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR account immediately and will post it to my Amazon and B&N accounts upon publication.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoy historical novels and this one was a treat since it was set during the Russian Revolution, not a familiar subject for me. Nadia comes from a noble Russian family, who loses everything at the start of the war. Her family falls apart and she is left alone, with no source of income. Her brother is fighting with the resisters, so she has no contact with him. 
She meets up with a friend of her uncle’s, who is a Bolshevik and ends up marrying him to survive. So begins her career as a spy in Paris.
This was a story of struggle, loss and the will to survive, no matter the cost. But her past guides her to try and help those of her family that survived, unable to betray her values.
Elizabeth Blackwell is a skilled storyteller and the amount of research needed to tell this story is apparent. I loved her fictional characters, especially Nadia, a strong brave woman, ahead of her time.
My thanks to #LakeUnionPublishing and #NetGalley for the ARC for my independent opinion. I really enjoyed this book!
Was this review helpful?
Nadia and her family lived well before the Russian Revolution but then everything came tumbling down for her.  Grinding poverty and being a non-person reduces her to a shadow of herself but her uncle Sergey is there as more or less of a safety net for both Nadia and her brother Vasily.  Unfortunately, so is Alek, who before things went bad, flirted with her mother.  Nadia marries Alek, becomes a translator, thanks to the English she learned from her governess, as well as her French, and then finds herself on a mission to uncover traitors to the USSR who are resident in Paris.  This has a great start but fell off for me because I could not grasp WHY Nadia continued with her mission in Paris.  Certainly she wasn't committed to the cause, not one bit.  The argument could be made that she was worried about Sergey and Vasily but that wasn't raised.  Certainly she wanted to be close to Lee but really, I don't understand why she followed through with any of the "espionage."  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  I know I sound sour but know that this is a well written novel that will appeal to fans of historical fiction.
Was this review helpful?
A spy thriller set in the beginning of communism in the Soviet Union is an unusual setting and it worked extremely well.  Characters were memorable and the story was terrific and well crafted.
Was this review helpful?
It was refreshing to find a story about a female spy that had nothing to do with World War Two. I found myself getting wrapped up in Nadia's story as she navigated a life of duty and secrecy while trying to remain true to herself. I did find a few things as predictable, while other elements caught me completely off guard. Overall it was a lovely story that I enjoyed reading.
Was this review helpful?
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book because of Elizabeth Blackwell's previous books. They've kinda got that historical yet creepy ghost vibe on my opinion and the sypnosis for this one threw me. I loved it though!!!!!!!!  The espionage,  secrets, passion, and deception weaves into an amazingly great historical fiction book!!!  Five stars from me. Thank you to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?