The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers by Kerri Turner

Published: 2019 Genre: Historical fiction 1. First lines 2. Cover: Harper Collins 3. Anna Pavlova [Public Domain] via Wikimedia 4. Mariinsky Theater [CC BY 2.0] Image by Alejandro via flickr

Against the background of the Russian Revolution of the early twentieth century, the Imperial Russian Ballet is targeted as a symbol of Romanov indulgence. Valentina Yershova is a dancer who has climbed through the ranks with protection from influential men. Luka Zhirkov joins the company, and is conflicted between his humble background and his love of ballet in the prestigious ballet company. When civil war erupts, they are both in danger.

“We’re Romanov dancers; we’re told our places.”

“The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers” by Kerri Turner

Glanceabook: Details of the era (Russia in World War 1) and details about the Imperial Russian Ballet make this an interesting read. It is a well-told story with a plot that is quite straightforward.

  • Better Reading: “A stunning debut from a talented new Australian voice, The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers is a powerful novel of revolution, passion, and just how much people are willing to sacrifice for love. … Fans of historical fiction will relish the rich detail of the book, and the way it captures both the facts and essence of the period. Romantics are in for a treat, too, with Valentina and Luka’s heated relationship made all the more intense by the gradual decline of their country and the uncertainty of their livelihoods.”


“Everyone has limitations, physical or otherwise, that hold them back; and eventually the hope of anything more becomes too much to live with.”

“He willed his feet to move fast, and being part of a well-trained body of a dancer, they obeyed. Within minutes, Luka was inside the Mariinsky Theatre – home of the Imperial Russian Ballet. Only dancers from the associated Imperial Ballet School – a school which had been decreed by Empress Anna Ivanovna Romanovna – were accepted into the company. Being part of the Imperial Russian Ballet was to be part of a great heritage, connected to, and under the protection of, the Romanov family. Moscow had thei Bolshoi Ballet, but they didn’t have that.”

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