Thursday 8 December 2016

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Book Title: A Gentleman in Moscow
Author: Amor Towles
Genre: Historical Fiction
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads, Amazon UK 
Goodreads Summary: On 21 June 1922 Count Alexander Rostov – recipient of the Order of Saint Andrew, member of the Jockey Club, Master of the Hunt – is escorted out of the Kremlin, across Red Square and through the elegant revolving doors of the Hotel Metropol.
But instead of being taken to his usual suite, he is led to an attic room with a window the size of a chessboard. Deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the Count has been sentenced to house arrest indefinitely.

While Russia undergoes decades of tumultuous upheaval, the Count, stripped of the trappings that defined his life, is forced to question what makes us who we are. And with the assistance of a glamorous actress, a cantankerous chef and a very serious child, Rostov unexpectedly discovers a new understanding of both pleasure and purpose.
I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

What did I think? As I get older it seems like I fall in love with books less often than when I was a child. Maybe I've just seen it all. The twists, the turns, the reveals... but every once in a while I still stumble over a book that captures my heart.

This year it was Flowers for Algernon (Daniel Keyes) and Tom Toner's The Promise of the Child. And this one...

Not at first though. It took me quite a while to get into the book. The first hundred pages, I wasn't convinced, but before I knew what was happening I fell in love... 

I don't usually like when there isn't a healthy amount of action in a story. In A Gentleman in Moscow not a lot happens. At least not inside the hotel where the entire novel takes place. History happens outside, but the Count doesn't get to participate. It's an uplifting tale, but one where the main character is stuck in the same location throughout.

Once I've adjusted my expectations and was willing to just follow the Count's journey through the hotel, having dinner and living his life to the best of his abilities, I discovered a wonderful novel. 

The writing is elegant, tender and so very warm. Towards the end I had goosebumps all over and tears streaming down my cheeks.

Amor Towles created a world with likeable characters, filled with Russian history (from 1922-1954) and despite the story taking place in one location only, the book kept my interest and is filled with little tidbits that made me smile. Whether it be the gourmet food, the accompanying wine or quotes from Russian literature. It's all exquisite.

I highly recommend this one to anyone interested in Russia, historical fiction or just a charming read.


  1. This one is completely new to me but I'm so glad that it swept you away so well and that you loved it. Great review!

  2. I've heard of this book about within the community, but never actually read a review as of it so it was really nice to read your thoughts on the book. I've read Rules of Civility by the same author, which I really quite enjoyed, so I'll have to keep my eye out. Thanks for sharing!

  3. This sounds really different but good too- interesting that it takes place almost entirely in the hotel. I imagine the events happening outside though provide an interesting backdrop. I haven't read as much historical fiction lately as I was a few years ago but Russian history is fascinating.