Children in the City of Czars: A Novel

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Pub Date 03 Dec 2023 | Archive Date 11 Jan 2024

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Description

Children in the City of Czars: A Novel is about three sibling orphans in post-Soviet Russia who are separated by the authorities and yet hold on to a quixotic hope that one day their family will be united. A dark story, each of the siblings must navigate the brutal underbelly of the most beautiful city in the world, St. Petersburg. Whether it's a run-in with the mafia or brutal children in the orphanage or other unscrupulous adults, the Lebedev children must grow up quickly to survive. 

Children in the City of Czars: A Novel is about three sibling orphans in post-Soviet Russia who are separated by the authorities and yet hold on to a quixotic hope that one day their family will be...


Advance Praise

"A brutal and thorough exploration of St. Petersburg in the 1990s, seen through the eyes of three young children....Brown writes uncomplicated prose that expertly exemplifies the cold brutality of life for those living in St. Petersburg during the era depicted here. The protagonists are treated with an intriguing blend of insight and superficiality as the author directs the reader to focus not on the unique nature of each character but on the cutthroat means of survival that define the children’s lives..." --Kirkus Reviews 

"Heartrending story of orphaned siblings fighting to stay together in post-Soviet Russia....Brown’s personal connection to Russia—her adopted daughter grew up in St. Petersburg—grants her a unique perspective to capture the lives of the Lebedev siblings. What truly distinguishes Brown's narrative is her intricate portrayal of each sibling's voice..." --BookLife (a supplement to PW)

"A brutal and thorough exploration of St. Petersburg in the 1990s, seen through the eyes of three young children....Brown writes uncomplicated prose that expertly exemplifies the cold brutality of...


Marketing Plan

Book Launch at the Gallery 220 in Havre de Grace, Maryland. 
Promotional materials have been distributed to more than 150 bloggers, 50 podcasters, and 200 libraries. 
GoodReads giveaway completed on October 9. 
Facebook Ad campaign will be launched Dec 1. 
PrePub orders will begin by early November. 
Author appearances scheduled in first quarter 2024. 

Book Launch at the Gallery 220 in Havre de Grace, Maryland. 
Promotional materials have been distributed to more than 150 bloggers, 50 podcasters, and 200 libraries. 
GoodReads giveaway completed on...


Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781881276296
PRICE $19.95 (USD)
PAGES 291

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Average rating from 9 members


Featured Reviews

The hard hitting story of three orphans trying to survive in a world gone mad and where everyone but family could be the enemy.

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A brother determined to keep his sisters safe in a crumbling Russian government.

Fedya is a young boy living in St. Petersburg, Russia in a time of despair and hopelessness. He attempts to protect his sisters , Elena and Irishka, by turning them over to social services who places them in an orphanage for potential adoption. Fedya's involvement in a street gang brings him into contact with dangerous people from the Russian mafia. He becomes involved with a prostitute attempting to escape her former life. Fedya is determined to find his uncle who might be able to keep his promise to his mother to keep the family together.

Children of the Czars is an insightful look of children struggling to survive in St. Petersburg, Russia under Yeltsin's administration. Fedya's struggle to be the big brother and protect his younger sisters is an admirable trait for a boy who is a child himself. I found my self encouraging Fedya not to give up in spite of the abuse and betrayal from people he thought he could trust in this gripping novel.

Irmargde Brown develops relatable characters throughout the story. I highly recommend this book for is authors personal touch and taking readers to St. Petersburg in a time where children experienced despair but also hope that things will get better.

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Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Thank you, NetGalley and publishers.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, life became even more difficult for the little people. It was hard to find food or money, and as so often sadly is, the ones who suffered the most were the most vulnerable, especially children. Our story opens in the city of St. Petersburg, with a family of three children, recently orphaned with the death of their mother. The oldest child makes the difficult decision to turn his sisters over to the system of Children’s Homes, that should keep them alive, even if they are split up. Though the children suffer through terrible, heartbreaking situations, they never give up hoping that they will be reunited. This is the first book in a series, so there are unanswered questions that will be addressed in the sequel.

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Children in the City of Czars by Irmgarde Brown is a raw, dark, harrowing, multi-layered and difficult story to read but oh, how rewarding! Left orphaned in 1990s St. Petersburg in the post-Soviet era and in dire straits, teenager Fedya turns in his two unsuspecting younger sisters, Elena and Irishka to Social Services in hopes of a better life for them while he (barely) survives on the streets. The story details life from the three perspectives as well as other characters they encounter. What they endure is severe and horrendous but they all hold out for hope of reuniting one day. Their emotions are very real and crushing yet they cling to to gossamer threads of hope.

The writing is beautifully painful and poignant. It frequently cut like a knife. I could feel the desperation of the children as they navigated their new worlds. It seemed to them that adults were always the winners and they had no chance. Though there were some improvements to the wealthy in that time, so many were left to struggle on their own and they did things they wouldn't have otherwise even contemplated.

If you seek original writing and content which will challenge your mind and heart, add this to your list. Be aware there are vivid graphic details and violence. Sometimes I shuddered and my skin crawled, especially knowing this sort of thing was/is reality in many areas of the world. Important and sobering information can be difficult to learn about..

My sincere thank you to Serey/Jones Publishers and NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this riveting and heartbreaking novel..

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