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Amid the violent last days of the glittering Russian monarchy, a princess on the run finds her heart where she least expects it. 1917, Petrograd. Fleeing the murderous flames of the Russian Revolution, Princess Svetlana Dalsky hopes to find safety in Paris with her mother and sister. But the city is buckling under the weight of the Great War, and the Bolsheviks will not res Amid the violent last days of the glittering Russian monarchy, a princess on the run finds her heart where she least expects it. 1917, Petrograd. Fleeing the murderous flames of the Russian Revolution, Princess Svetlana Dalsky hopes to find safety in Paris with her mother and sister. But the city is buckling under the weight of the Great War, and the Bolsheviks will not rest until they have erased every Russian aristocrat from memory. Svetlana and her family are forced into hiding in Paris’s underbelly, with little to their name but the jewels they sewed into their corsets before their terrifying escape. Born the second son of a Scottish duke, the only title Wynn MacCallan cares for is that of surgeon. Putting his talents with a scalpel to good use in the hospitals in Paris, Wynn pushes the boundaries of medical science to give his patients the best care possible. After treating Svetlana for a minor injury, he is pulled into a world of decaying imperial glitter. Intrigued by this mysterious, cold, and beautiful woman, Wynn follows Svetlana to an underground Russian club where drink, dance, and questionable dealings collide on bubbles of vodka. Out of money and options, Svetlana agrees to a marriage of convenience with the handsome and brilliant Wynn, who will protect her and pay off her family’s debts. It’s the right thing for a good man to do, but Wynn cannot help hoping the marriage will turn into one of true affection. When Wynn’s life takes an unexpected turn, so does Svetlana’s—and soon Paris becomes as dangerous as Petrograd. And as the Bolsheviks chase them to Scotland, Wynn and Svetlana begin to wonder if they will ever be able to outrun the love they are beginning to feel for one another. “The Ice Swan is a ray of light in the middle of a Europe that was sinking into darkness. Ciesielski’s talent for storytelling from the heart is a feast for the readers’ eyes.” —Mario Escobar, international bestselling author of Remember Me and Children of the Stars Adventurous World War I historical romance For fans of Kate Quinn, Beatriz Williams, and Aimie K. Runyan Full-length, stand-alone novel (approx. 120,000 words) Includes discussion questions for book clubs


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Amid the violent last days of the glittering Russian monarchy, a princess on the run finds her heart where she least expects it. 1917, Petrograd. Fleeing the murderous flames of the Russian Revolution, Princess Svetlana Dalsky hopes to find safety in Paris with her mother and sister. But the city is buckling under the weight of the Great War, and the Bolsheviks will not res Amid the violent last days of the glittering Russian monarchy, a princess on the run finds her heart where she least expects it. 1917, Petrograd. Fleeing the murderous flames of the Russian Revolution, Princess Svetlana Dalsky hopes to find safety in Paris with her mother and sister. But the city is buckling under the weight of the Great War, and the Bolsheviks will not rest until they have erased every Russian aristocrat from memory. Svetlana and her family are forced into hiding in Paris’s underbelly, with little to their name but the jewels they sewed into their corsets before their terrifying escape. Born the second son of a Scottish duke, the only title Wynn MacCallan cares for is that of surgeon. Putting his talents with a scalpel to good use in the hospitals in Paris, Wynn pushes the boundaries of medical science to give his patients the best care possible. After treating Svetlana for a minor injury, he is pulled into a world of decaying imperial glitter. Intrigued by this mysterious, cold, and beautiful woman, Wynn follows Svetlana to an underground Russian club where drink, dance, and questionable dealings collide on bubbles of vodka. Out of money and options, Svetlana agrees to a marriage of convenience with the handsome and brilliant Wynn, who will protect her and pay off her family’s debts. It’s the right thing for a good man to do, but Wynn cannot help hoping the marriage will turn into one of true affection. When Wynn’s life takes an unexpected turn, so does Svetlana’s—and soon Paris becomes as dangerous as Petrograd. And as the Bolsheviks chase them to Scotland, Wynn and Svetlana begin to wonder if they will ever be able to outrun the love they are beginning to feel for one another. “The Ice Swan is a ray of light in the middle of a Europe that was sinking into darkness. Ciesielski’s talent for storytelling from the heart is a feast for the readers’ eyes.” —Mario Escobar, international bestselling author of Remember Me and Children of the Stars Adventurous World War I historical romance For fans of Kate Quinn, Beatriz Williams, and Aimie K. Runyan Full-length, stand-alone novel (approx. 120,000 words) Includes discussion questions for book clubs

30 review for The Ice Swan

  1. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Tagg

    The Ice Swan is basically every single thing I love in a good book: Intriguing history—check. Fantastic writing voice—check check. Swoony romance—check check CHECK. 😍😍😍 So so so good. And bonus points because I've long been fascinated by Russian history (fourth-grade Melissa got particularly obsessed, going way overboard with a school project about Russia in true goody-two-shoes fashion) and so everything about the Svetlana's plight was captivating to me. And the fact that it takes us from Russi The Ice Swan is basically every single thing I love in a good book: Intriguing history—check. Fantastic writing voice—check check. Swoony romance—check check CHECK. 😍😍😍 So so so good. And bonus points because I've long been fascinated by Russian history (fourth-grade Melissa got particularly obsessed, going way overboard with a school project about Russia in true goody-two-shoes fashion) and so everything about the Svetlana's plight was captivating to me. And the fact that it takes us from Russia to Paris to SCOTLAND (swoooooooon) made me insanely happy. And we get a teensy cameo from Beauty from Ruins, the author's last book, too. Loved that! J'nell Ciesielski has quickly become a must-read author for me!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    Russia, October 1917. As Petrograd is raging with Revolution, nobles are fleeing the city, among them Princess Svetlana Dalsky with her family. France, 1918. Edwynn MacCallan is a medical officer at English hospital in Paris. He is a second son of Duke of Kilbride. Since his brother will inherit the estate, he finds a profession where he can feel useful. Fascinated with the groundbreaking research and techniques being developed in Germany, he seeks the best treatments for his patients. And that Russia, October 1917. As Petrograd is raging with Revolution, nobles are fleeing the city, among them Princess Svetlana Dalsky with her family. France, 1918. Edwynn MacCallan is a medical officer at English hospital in Paris. He is a second son of Duke of Kilbride. Since his brother will inherit the estate, he finds a profession where he can feel useful. Fascinated with the groundbreaking research and techniques being developed in Germany, he seeks the best treatments for his patients. And that means if a patient is in his hands and he has seconds to make a decision, he may apply the newest advances in medicine without having time to consult with his superior. And that may put him under questioning and jeopardize his career. In Paris, Svetlana as a Russian emigre has to be careful who she can trust. When her cut leg needs tending, Dr. MacCallan pays attention not only to her wound, but also to her beauty and mannerism which suggest she comes from aristocracy. She doesn’t find anything treasonous in his eyes; only kindness and understanding. But can she trust him? It is safer to trust no one as her family is hunted simply for being nobility. Stripped away from all their privileges, they live in the same hard conditions as all emigres do. It’s not only food that is scarce, but also shelter. They have to make themselves as discrete as possible until the revolutionaries are defeated in Russia. But the doctor cannot forget a young woman with pale blue eyes. There is another complication. White Bear serves as relaxation place for Russian nobles in Paris. Svetlana’s mother sits at a gaming table. She gambles without having money to cover now her debt. And debt needs to be paid. Svetlana becomes a pawn. Once ballerina in Russia, now she needs to put her dancing skills and herself on display at the White Bear to pay the debt. Her story brings interesting aspect of White emigres – nobles of the imperial court of Tsar Nicholas who escape the Russian Revolution. Stripped of their privileges, they try to find some way of normalcy in a new place. And one of those places is White Bear, where privileges are upheld, but debts are made creating new problems. His story brings interesting groundbreaking medical procedures of the time. Together, creating a fascinating story with absorbing characters. It is written with beautiful prose and an engaging dialogue, combined with atmosphere of suspense created by underlying mystery and intrigue. The deftly plotted story with lush descriptions takes time with revealing the plot. (4 stars: Interesting story, beautifully written, but has a slow pace). Source: ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. "I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own." Review originally posted at mysteryandsuspense.com

  3. 4 out of 5

    Karren Sandercock

    Petrograd, 1917. Princess Svetlana Dalsky has a small bag packed, she’s worried about the dangerous Bolsheviks attacking and she’s prepared to leave quickly. One night she hears the sound of an angry mop approaching, she wakes her sister Marina and her mother Ana. They leave just in time, eventually they arrive in Paris, it’s during WW I, the city is full of refugees, soldiers, wounded and accommodation is scarce. Ana, Svetlana and Marina are forced to take refuge in the basement of a church, Ana Petrograd, 1917. Princess Svetlana Dalsky has a small bag packed, she’s worried about the dangerous Bolsheviks attacking and she’s prepared to leave quickly. One night she hears the sound of an angry mop approaching, she wakes her sister Marina and her mother Ana. They leave just in time, eventually they arrive in Paris, it’s during WW I, the city is full of refugees, soldiers, wounded and accommodation is scarce. Ana, Svetlana and Marina are forced to take refuge in the basement of a church, Ana isn’t coping with her change in life style and their only funds are jewels sewn into their corsets. The Bolsheviks want to get rid of every Russian aristocrat, even ones hiding in Paris and Svetlana doesn’t feel safe. She witnesses a shooting, Leonid Sheremetev survives and his father owns the notorious White Bear Club. A meeting place for Russians, Ana Dalsky is easily drawn into the drinking and gambling at the club. Wynn MacCallan is a gifted surgeon, he’s in Paris due to the war, and he treats Svetlana for a minor injury, and he’s concerned about the Dalsky women’s situation. Svetlana is beautiful, not very friendly and Wynn finds her intriguing. Wynn treated Leonid when he was wounded, he also visits the White Bear Club, where Svetlana’s dancing and it’s not a safe place for her to be. When he discovers how dire Svetlana’s predicament is, he marries her and pays off her mother’s debts. He sends his new bride, Ana and Marina to stay his Scottish estate and surely they will be safe from the Bolsheviks there? The one person who Svetlana thought she could always trust, a friend, finds them in Scotland and has he changed sides? I had no idea Russian aristocrats fled to Paris during the uprising, or about the cities nasty Russian underground and how ruthless the Bolsheviks were. I really enjoyed reading about Wynn’s experiences as a surgeon during WW I, his medical career, how his relationship with Svetlana changed and she adapted to living in Scotland. I received a copy of The Ice Swan in exchange for an honest review, a fascinating story and five stars from me. https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/

  4. 5 out of 5

    Maja - BibliophiliaDK ✨

    As someone who has always been fascinated by the Russian Revolution, this book was one I was really looking forward to reading. But right from the beginning something didn't sit well with me. I couldn't help notice the striking similarities between the prologue of this book and the opening scene of the animated movie Anastasia. I think it bothered me to the point of me already giving up on this book before it had even really started. In any case, I didn't connect with this book at all. The story As someone who has always been fascinated by the Russian Revolution, this book was one I was really looking forward to reading. But right from the beginning something didn't sit well with me. I couldn't help notice the striking similarities between the prologue of this book and the opening scene of the animated movie Anastasia. I think it bothered me to the point of me already giving up on this book before it had even really started. In any case, I didn't connect with this book at all. The story moved really slowly. The characters didn't really appeal to me. And I just kept skimming because I didn't really care. Actual rating: 2.5 ⭐

  5. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    I am so glad I had the opportunity to read another J'nell Ciesielski book. I think The Ice Swan is her best one yet. It is a book with depth. A slow burn romance that does not bore. This one was on the longer side (my preference) and it is well worth every page. The plot was so well planned out. Readers go from Russia to Paris and beyond. There is a lot of character development in this book. I glanced at several reviews before I began reading and noticed some readers struggled with Svetlana. How I am so glad I had the opportunity to read another J'nell Ciesielski book. I think The Ice Swan is her best one yet. It is a book with depth. A slow burn romance that does not bore. This one was on the longer side (my preference) and it is well worth every page. The plot was so well planned out. Readers go from Russia to Paris and beyond. There is a lot of character development in this book. I glanced at several reviews before I began reading and noticed some readers struggled with Svetlana. How can one like a main character that is so aloof? Be patient my fellow readers, you will love her by the end. I think this book will be a favorite of 2021 for me. I am repeating myself, but this was a really well thought out book. I have one complaint though, and it's the back cover of the book. It spoils about half the novel and stole much of the anticipation I would have had otherwise. If you haven't read it already, don't. Just know this is an excellent historical fiction/romance novel about a Russian princess who is forced to flee during the Russian Revolution. While in Paris, Wynn (a medical doctor) helps save this damsel in distress. That's really all you need to know. Enjoy! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    I had always been such a huge fan of J'nell Ciesielski, having enjoyed both THE SOCIALITE an BEAUTY AMONG RUINS this past two years, so when I heard about this upcoming novel about a Russian princess I was all over this book. First of all, the gorgeous book cover said it all in this thrilling historical fiction story about the Bolsheviks' annihilation of the Russian monarchy which forced Princess Svetlana into hiding in Paris, and where a chance meeting with a handsome and brilliant Scotsman, wh I had always been such a huge fan of J'nell Ciesielski, having enjoyed both THE SOCIALITE an BEAUTY AMONG RUINS this past two years, so when I heard about this upcoming novel about a Russian princess I was all over this book. First of all, the gorgeous book cover said it all in this thrilling historical fiction story about the Bolsheviks' annihilation of the Russian monarchy which forced Princess Svetlana into hiding in Paris, and where a chance meeting with a handsome and brilliant Scotsman, who was also a surgeon and a son of a duke may help Svetlana, who was once part of the Russian aristocracy. This may be by far my most favorite storyline and historical fiction read from author J'nell Ciesielski - from the heart wrenching life Svetlana had to endure, the characters, and that incredible back story of wealth and power to now going through extreme poverty. There was just so much to the story that you find yourself rooting for these characters as they show their strength and resilience in overcoming adversities, adn maybe thier happy ever after too. It was also a story about a family of privilege now losing everything, and going through the hardships and escaping persecution that just keeps your heart at bay as you see the extremes in the transition in their lives. I loved the back story and learning in depth about the Russian monarchy was incredible. I found the pacing of the story incredibly thrilling that kept my attention and me fully entertained. There were a lot going on in the story and I loved every minute of it. Historical fiction fans - do not miss this incredible book!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    Was anyone else obsessed with the Anastasia animated movie as a kid or was that just me? Of course, you were! I think it was an obligatory fave of millennials. I was thrilled to find this book by new-to-me author J’nell Ciesielski, because the description gave me serious Anastasia vibes plus it included my favorite romance trope, the ever interesting marriage of convenience. I’m happy to inform, The Ice Swan did not disappoint. In the epilogue there’s even an Anastasia introduced and I choose to Was anyone else obsessed with the Anastasia animated movie as a kid or was that just me? Of course, you were! I think it was an obligatory fave of millennials. I was thrilled to find this book by new-to-me author J’nell Ciesielski, because the description gave me serious Anastasia vibes plus it included my favorite romance trope, the ever interesting marriage of convenience. I’m happy to inform, The Ice Swan did not disappoint. In the epilogue there’s even an Anastasia introduced and I choose to believe the author probably was into the movie too. Ha ha! Anyway, the first half of the book was definitely intense. There’s a lot of uncertainty and violence as Svetlana and her family fled Russia for France in 1917 whilst leaving behind her father and brother. To be quite honest, I wasn’t sure if the romantic aspect was going to work as there was little interaction between Svetlana and Wynn that showed chemistry of any kind, but the romance took center stage for the latter half of the book and the sparks blazed and hearts thawed. I’m very interested to see what happens to a few characters in this book, mainly one dude whose name I can’t give due to spoilers. Hopefully, the story continues!!! I definitely recommend this book to romance fans and readers who love historicals but are sick to death of European novels taking place in Regency England!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    Another fine hist fic novel by the talented J'nell Ciesielski! It’s 1917 and we’re swept from Russian during the Bolshevik Revolution to Paris devastated by the Great War, where injured Russian Princess Svetlana Dalsky is treated by Scottish surgeon Wynn MacCallan. Such a precarious time! War swirls around them as do bloodthirsty Bolsheviks out to kill every Russian Royal. An enticing tale with a swoon-worthy romance, making Ciesielski a must-read author for hist fic lovers! 5 of 5 Stars Pub Date Another fine hist fic novel by the talented J'nell Ciesielski! It’s 1917 and we’re swept from Russian during the Bolshevik Revolution to Paris devastated by the Great War, where injured Russian Princess Svetlana Dalsky is treated by Scottish surgeon Wynn MacCallan. Such a precarious time! War swirls around them as do bloodthirsty Bolsheviks out to kill every Russian Royal. An enticing tale with a swoon-worthy romance, making Ciesielski a must-read author for hist fic lovers! 5 of 5 Stars Pub Date 06 Jul 2021 #TheIceSwan #NetGalley Thanks to the author, Thomas Nelson - Fiction, and NetGalley for the ARC. Opinions are mine.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    4.5 stars "There was something about her that called to a lost part of him. She possessed a strength of character that bolstered his own. . . . . . She inspired him." The ice swan . . . beautiful in an intoxicating kind of way and yet controlled . . . to the point of dismissing any emotion that would threaten the frozen state of her heart; a defense mechanism at best and stubborn at worst. Her official title was Her Serenity the Princess Svetlana Dmitrievna Dalsky and army surgeon Doctor Wynn MacC 4.5 stars "There was something about her that called to a lost part of him. She possessed a strength of character that bolstered his own. . . . . . She inspired him." The ice swan . . . beautiful in an intoxicating kind of way and yet controlled . . . to the point of dismissing any emotion that would threaten the frozen state of her heart; a defense mechanism at best and stubborn at worst. Her official title was Her Serenity the Princess Svetlana Dmitrievna Dalsky and army surgeon Doctor Wynn MacCallan was instantly besotted. Their chance meeting altered the course of their lives; Svetlana, along with her mother and sister, had been forced to flee Russia, along with many other aristocrats trying to escape execution during the Bolshevik Revolution. Living like beggars, Svetlana was introduced to a powerful Russian businessman operating in Paris, whose attentions turned dangerous enough that Svetlana felt a tremulous relief when Wynn made his generous offer of protection; marriage. Whisked off to her husband's native Scotland, Svetlana's life began all over again. Would she and Wynn, who was becoming a recognized leader in the emerging field of cardiology, ever have the opportunity to explore their bruised and buried feelings or would they forever be waiting along the walls of the ballroom, never to share the dance? "Loving you isn't an entanglement. It's a privilege." Whisk yourself away into the pages of this lovely story which showcases this author's ability to dig deeper and soar higher than ever before.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Grace Johnson

    I know not my thoughts concerning this novel. To be honest...it was so...hollow. Without the depth of spirituality I've come to know and love from Christian fiction, every choice the characters made and every emotion they felt seemed sadly unfounded. Thomas Nelson's books just aren't doing it for me anymore, guys. *sobs* Anyway, full review to come that will - hopefully - make more sense! I know not my thoughts concerning this novel. To be honest...it was so...hollow. Without the depth of spirituality I've come to know and love from Christian fiction, every choice the characters made and every emotion they felt seemed sadly unfounded. Thomas Nelson's books just aren't doing it for me anymore, guys. *sobs* Anyway, full review to come that will - hopefully - make more sense!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Loraine

    Russian princess, Svetlana Dalsky along with her mother and sister have escaped to Paris, France from the Russian Revolution into the midst of World War I with nothing but a little money and some jewelry that had managed to smuggle out with them. Living in the basement of their church with nothing but a few clothes and what little food they could buy each day, life is not the grand style they had lived previously. When Svetlana is out on the street trying to find a better place for them to live, Russian princess, Svetlana Dalsky along with her mother and sister have escaped to Paris, France from the Russian Revolution into the midst of World War I with nothing but a little money and some jewelry that had managed to smuggle out with them. Living in the basement of their church with nothing but a few clothes and what little food they could buy each day, life is not the grand style they had lived previously. When Svetlana is out on the street trying to find a better place for them to live, a woman throws a bottle at her which breaks and leaves a large piece of glass in her shin. At that moment, Dr. Wynn MacCallan comes along and rescues Svetlana, takes her to the church, and treats her leg. Thus begins a relationship that will have its highs and lows and find both of them facing dire problems as well as wonderful moments. J'nell Ciesielski's books are always something I look forward to, and this one is perhaps my favorite. Her historical research into both World War I in Paris as well as the Russian Revolution is obvious throughout the detail in the story. The characters of both Svetlana and Wynn were so well developed and realistic. The secondary characters were wonderful additions. Svetlana's mother was such a stereotype of upper class snobbery, and her sister was a sweet young thing who had yet to mature into wiser ways but tried to be helpful and understanding. Also the trials that emigres would run into as they escaped from a revolution were so true to life. This book would make a wonderful movie with one of the Bolshoi prima ballerinas playing the role of Svetlana. **I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK First of all I love the cover of The Ice Swan and its the main reason I wanted to read this book, though I have read others by this author and they were amazing. And I found The Ice Swan to be another amazing read by author J’Nell Ciesielsk. The story is written during World War I, and for me, it started out very slow. But never fear, after a while it spikes and you will not want to put the book down. The characters were so well crafted and their development throughout the MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK First of all I love the cover of The Ice Swan and its the main reason I wanted to read this book, though I have read others by this author and they were amazing. And I found The Ice Swan to be another amazing read by author J’Nell Ciesielsk. The story is written during World War I, and for me, it started out very slow. But never fear, after a while it spikes and you will not want to put the book down. The characters were so well crafted and their development throughout the story was phenomenal. The plot flows so well, I love Svetlana Dalsky and Wynn MacCallan’s story. It flows so well, from the time Svetlana leaves Russia on until the end. Historical Paris and Scotland was fun reading about, and Russia history was interesting as well. I’ve only read a few book with the setting in or around WWI so there is a lot of intriguing history for me here. So if you love historical fiction set in this era, I highly recommend this book to you. There are lots of twists and turns, much tension, but the author does a fantastic job of weaving everything together and coming up with a great ending A special thanks to the author/publisher for a copy of this book. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    ICE SWAN Ice Swan is a really nice relaxing fantasy escape. A Russian princess exiled during the Russian revolution, and a Scottish Marquis using his skills as a surgeon meet in Paris during WWI. Her Serenity the Princess Swetlana Dmitrievna Dalsky and her mother Ana and sister Marina have escaped to Paris during the Russian Revolution. With nothing left but their jewelry to survive on, they fall in with Sheremetev, a leader in the Russian criminal element. As the owner of the White Bear Club, a ICE SWAN Ice Swan is a really nice relaxing fantasy escape. A Russian princess exiled during the Russian revolution, and a Scottish Marquis using his skills as a surgeon meet in Paris during WWI. Her Serenity the Princess Swetlana Dmitrievna Dalsky and her mother Ana and sister Marina have escaped to Paris during the Russian Revolution. With nothing left but their jewelry to survive on, they fall in with Sheremetev, a leader in the Russian criminal element. As the owner of the White Bear Club, a gambling house for Russian immigrants, Sheremetev employs Swetlana as a dancer to help pay off her mother’s gambling debts. While hiding from Bolsheviks, Swetlana injures her leg and is treated by WWI army surgeon, Wynn MacCallen, in a hotel that has been converted into a hospital to treat wounded soldiers. He is also a Scottish Marquise. With the background settings of Paris during WWI, the Russian Revolution, and ultimately Thornhill Castle in Glasgow Scotland, Ice Swan is both relaxing and exciting in its presentation. A light bit of history helps to make it feel grounded, while the romance has a believable and likable YA fairytale quality to it. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I would like to thank NetGalley, J’Nell Ciesielski, and Thomas Nelson Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Becky Lewis

    Open the Ice Swan by J’nell Ciesielski and be deeply immersed in the fearful world of the Bolshevik Revolution combined with WWI. Look over your shoulder every step with Princess Svetlana as she runs for the lives of herself and her family. Who does she dare trust? Can she support her histrionic mother without enabling her erratic behavior? What of her own dreams? “I had hope once.” ... “Such notions belong to ruins of the past.” Can she find hope amid tragedy or will fear and distrust win for li Open the Ice Swan by J’nell Ciesielski and be deeply immersed in the fearful world of the Bolshevik Revolution combined with WWI. Look over your shoulder every step with Princess Svetlana as she runs for the lives of herself and her family. Who does she dare trust? Can she support her histrionic mother without enabling her erratic behavior? What of her own dreams? “I had hope once.” ... “Such notions belong to ruins of the past.” Can she find hope amid tragedy or will fear and distrust win for life? I love Ciesielski’s suspenseful, smooth style of writing that places the reader smack-dab in the middle of the action, and even in the mental indecision of both Svetlana and Dr. Wynn. I love the witty, excellent repartee between Svetlana and Wynn. I love Dr. Wynn for his persistence, great desire to help people, and his desire to push medical boundaries to improve medicine. I think of books like this, comparable to the book of Esther in the Bible. Not a lot of reference to God or prayers, yet the discerning reader can see His fingerprints all over the final masterpiece. Well done, Ms. Ciesielski!! Anxious for your next book!! I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit via NetGalley. All opinions are my own and no positive review was required.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Faye

    Svetlana and her family have come to Paris seeking a refuge from the Russia Revolution that has upended their life. Wynn is the second son of a Duke, toiling as a surgeon, his protective nature prevents him from walking away from the displaced princess and her family in need. An engaging story set in Paris during the heat of the Great War, the sparking chemistry between Wynn and Svetlana brings this book to life as their regard for each other grows. Though Svetlana is a princess, she is determine Svetlana and her family have come to Paris seeking a refuge from the Russia Revolution that has upended their life. Wynn is the second son of a Duke, toiling as a surgeon, his protective nature prevents him from walking away from the displaced princess and her family in need. An engaging story set in Paris during the heat of the Great War, the sparking chemistry between Wynn and Svetlana brings this book to life as their regard for each other grows. Though Svetlana is a princess, she is determined to make the best of their current situation, I admired her for courageously facing her family's new reality head on. Wynn is a compassionate and daring surgeon, with an unflagging humor, I loved how he is there for Svetlana when she needs him and draws her out of her shell of propriety. Overall, a well written story with engaging characters who have an endearing chemistry and charming dialogue between them. The author does a great job of bringing the bleak landscape to life, along with the plight of those displaced by the conflict. Definitely recommend this gem of a read! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chautona Havig

    Two Wars, Two Perspectives, One Chance at Life and Love At 25% into the book, I loved the characters (even the ones who annoy the pants off me, and trust me. Svetlana is annoying as all her imperious get out. That's what the whole character growth thing is all about, right? The juxtaposition of the Russian revolution during WWI, set in Paris where another revolution occurred almost a hundred-fifty years earlier... fascinating.  Doing all that with a cardiologist working near Paris with all the bat Two Wars, Two Perspectives, One Chance at Life and Love At 25% into the book, I loved the characters (even the ones who annoy the pants off me, and trust me. Svetlana is annoying as all her imperious get out. That's what the whole character growth thing is all about, right? The juxtaposition of the Russian revolution during WWI, set in Paris where another revolution occurred almost a hundred-fifty years earlier... fascinating.  Doing all that with a cardiologist working near Paris with all the battle wounded and a Russian princess who happens to be a ballet dancer? What's not to love? The hot and cold relationship fits so perfectly in the personalities of both the characters and their respective countries. Historically... This book has everything going for it. I always forget the Russian Revolution took place right at the end of WWI.  Unlike many revolutions and wars for independence in history (French and American in particular), I've never been in support of either side of this one.  Ciesielski does a fabulous job of showing the unyielding, arrogant imperiousness of the Russian royals contrasted with the brutal, determination of the bolsheviks to slaughter them all. I find it strange to realize that those same Russians fled to the very country who treated their own nobles in the same way during their revolution--off with their heads, if you will. Add to that the advances in medicine and technology, and this book has it all. Along with a lovely romance. Mostly. I can absolutely see what both of the characters love about the other.  The way it takes time for each to lay their hearts on the line for the other to accept or reject--perfect.  It makes total sense. Ciesielski even did a fabulous job of making me semi-understand Lana's mother. Never thought that would happen. My only quibble is the over-the-top protestations of undying love at the end. I kept telling myself that someone like Lana would, when she finally allowed herself to love and for that love to be known, could tip over from icy to fiery both in word and in deed.  But frankly, I rolled my eyes. Seriously.  IT was like a page.  Maybe a page and a half of an entirely otherwise perfect book.  And I suspect 99% of other readers loved that.  So I'm calling this book a five-star, perfect win. In fact, despite requesting a review copy, I purchased it myself. Bravo, Ms. Ciesielski.  Bravo!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Clark

    The Ice Swan is a complex story with hints of intrigue and risk set during a tumultuous time in history with a beautiful romance at its core. Author J’Nell Ciesielski sets the bar high for excellence in the genre! Every aspect of this novel is well paced and meticulously imparted, from the culture and heritage of Svetlana, the secrets and intrigue of the Russian underground, the challenge of an Army hospital and techniques at wartime, the brilliantly depicted settings, to the bright themes of tru The Ice Swan is a complex story with hints of intrigue and risk set during a tumultuous time in history with a beautiful romance at its core. Author J’Nell Ciesielski sets the bar high for excellence in the genre! Every aspect of this novel is well paced and meticulously imparted, from the culture and heritage of Svetlana, the secrets and intrigue of the Russian underground, the challenge of an Army hospital and techniques at wartime, the brilliantly depicted settings, to the bright themes of trust, grace, and belonging. The secondary characters are sometimes endearing, funny, annoying, or weasel-y as appropriate, making the contrasting worlds of Wynn and Svetlana come to life with a bit of humor and reality. The romance between Wynn and Svetlana is one for the reader to fall headlong into. Theirs is a melding of cultures with a slow burn marriage of convenience, allll things I love in a historical romance. J’Nell’s skillful wordsmithing depicts the comforting touches and embraces just as satisfyingly for this romance reader’s heart as the moments of spark and attraction. The magnetism between Wynn and Svetlana is unmistakable from their first meeting, and the way they compliment one another in intelligence and encourage each other (even through a bit of pride and stubbornness on both parts!) is my favorite part of their dynamic. Fans of Rachel McMillan, Kate Breslin, and Amanda Dykes will appreciate Ciesielski’s romantic prose and thought-provoking storytelling. I have a greater understanding of Russian history in the early 20th century and a new respect for the beginnings of cardiology thanks to the detailed research and history included in this story! Not mention a new fondness for the name Wynn :). This is the second novel I’ve read by J’Nell Ciesielski and I’m eager to read more soon. Thank you the the publisher and HFVBT tours for the review copy. This is my honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Anne Rightler

    J'nell Ciesielski is a new-to-me author, and I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Ice Swan. The tidbits of information regarding ballet throughout the story and the historical aspect of the Russian revolution of 1917 and the Bolsheviks were quite interesting. The author gives a realistic portrayal of what some Russian royals had to endure, the continued dangers even after they fled the country, and the severe societal and financial reversals. Marriag J'nell Ciesielski is a new-to-me author, and I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Ice Swan. The tidbits of information regarding ballet throughout the story and the historical aspect of the Russian revolution of 1917 and the Bolsheviks were quite interesting. The author gives a realistic portrayal of what some Russian royals had to endure, the continued dangers even after they fled the country, and the severe societal and financial reversals. Marriage of convenience stories are a favorite of mine, and I found the changing and development of Svetlana and Wynn's relationship throughout the story very satisfying. I loved both of these characters--Svetlana for her strength and loyalty to her family, and the responsibility she shows in fulfilling her roles in life, despite the huge changes in her life, and Wynn for his protectiveness toward Svetlana, and the way he handles the unexpected challenges he faces--both learning to thrive even though things are not as they wished or had been taken from them. Several twists to the plot with some wow-I-did-not-see-that-coming situations kept my interest high. Readers who enjoy historical romance will not want to miss The Ice Swan. I will be looking for more of Ms. Ciesielski's books. I received a complimentary copy of this book via CelebrateLit. I was not required to write a favorable review, and the opinions are my own. This review is part of a CelebrateLit blog tour.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    I have always considered myself to be a fan of all historical Christian fiction, no matter the setting or the time period. After spending time with The Ice Swan, I may have to amend that last statement. I managed to read a quarter of the story before I realized I couldn’t go another page. I was never able to identify with the two main characters, nor make myself believe their unlikely introduction and subsequent meetings. Wynn was the most likable of the two with his sense of humor, but I couldn I have always considered myself to be a fan of all historical Christian fiction, no matter the setting or the time period. After spending time with The Ice Swan, I may have to amend that last statement. I managed to read a quarter of the story before I realized I couldn’t go another page. I was never able to identify with the two main characters, nor make myself believe their unlikely introduction and subsequent meetings. Wynn was the most likable of the two with his sense of humor, but I couldn’t find much more beyond that to hold my interest. The one thing that I truly loved was the book cover. That alone was what initially drew me in, along with Svetlana’s ballet training. The latter was barely mentioned in the first quarter of the book which was another disappointment. As of right now, I regretfully have to put this one in my DNF stack. I may come back to it at a future date as I’ve read several other reviews which state that the story eventually moves away from France into Scotland, and Wynn and Svetlana’s relationship progresses into something more. Somehow though, I don’t know if that will be enough to redeem it for this reader.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Srivalli Rekha

    The Great War has wreaked havoc in Russia as the Bolsheviks swore to get rid of the aristocrats from the land. Svetlana escapes to Paris with her younger sister and mother in an attempt to stay alive. Life is tough for the princess as she has to come to terms with the lack of food and proper accommodations. Her mother’s aristocratic extravagance seems to be causing more harm. Wynn MacCallan is a Marquis, the second son of a Scotland Duke, and a surgeon working long hours treating the war patient The Great War has wreaked havoc in Russia as the Bolsheviks swore to get rid of the aristocrats from the land. Svetlana escapes to Paris with her younger sister and mother in an attempt to stay alive. Life is tough for the princess as she has to come to terms with the lack of food and proper accommodations. Her mother’s aristocratic extravagance seems to be causing more harm. Wynn MacCallan is a Marquis, the second son of a Scotland Duke, and a surgeon working long hours treating the war patients and making giant leaps in the medical world. Wynn and Svetlana don’t have a smooth start. The situation is grim, and the ice princess needs no one to help. But life doesn’t work according to her wishes. Svetlana gets into a marriage of convenience with Wynn when he offers a way out of the mounting troubles. The Great War appears to have ended but is the threat really gone, or are the Bolsheviks still crossing borders to hunt Svetlana and her family? Can the couple find love for each other and save their marriage and lives? The Ice Swan is an apt title for the book. We see Svetlana as the ice princess who is not easily charmed by anyone. Even as she feels a connection with Wynn, she keeps him at a distance. The book is 400 pages long and takes quite some time to finish. The beginning is a bit slow (expected, though), but it picks up a moderate pace afterward. The first half of the book takes place in Paris, where Wynn meets Svetlana, her family, and Leonard’s powerful father. The second half moves to Scotland as the princess tries to adapt to her new life and takes more interest in social causes. From being a bored princess to become a responsible and capable duchess, Svetlana’s progress seems steady enough. Her relationship with Wynn is another matter, though. The second half focuses on their marriage, and things do get a little predictable from here. We know things will happen, and the couple will have to go apart before they can confess their love and unite again. Luckily, the pace picks up at this stage, and the author doesn’t throw in too many twists. Wynn is a steadfast character and remains so for most of the book. The epilogue neatly ties up all knots and eases the wrinkles to give us a happy ever after. As other reviewers have mentioned, I’d love to see two side characters from the book have their own books and (love interests). They are rather cute and heartwarming people with good intentions. Not revealing the names, but will say that they are both males. Overall, The Ice Swan is a good book with elements of war, history, and romance. The elements have been balanced well, so the book makes a good read. I received an ARC from NetGalley and Thomas Nelson and am voluntarily leaving a review. #TheIceSwan #NetGalley

  21. 5 out of 5

    Meagan

    One of my earliest forays into Christian fiction involved a 7-book series partially cowritten by Michael Phillips and Judith Pella, “The Russians” (book 1 being The Crown and the Crucible). I’ve read the entire series countless times; it spurred a lifelong interest with Russia–to the point I wrote both high-school and university-level papers on the Romanovs, majored in European Studies after taking a Modern Russia class, and chose my Russian name for a language class from the series. To borrow f One of my earliest forays into Christian fiction involved a 7-book series partially cowritten by Michael Phillips and Judith Pella, “The Russians” (book 1 being The Crown and the Crucible). I’ve read the entire series countless times; it spurred a lifelong interest with Russia–to the point I wrote both high-school and university-level papers on the Romanovs, majored in European Studies after taking a Modern Russia class, and chose my Russian name for a language class from the series. To borrow from “National Treasure,” I’m “one step short of obsessed–passionate.” So when J’nell Ciesielski’s The Ice Queen came up as available for review on NetGalley, I jumped. “Russia? Russian history in my particularly favorite era? Yes, please. Where do I sign?” And the read did not disappoint! It lived up to every expectation I didn’t even know I had. (I realized about 2/3 in that I was subconsciously comparing it to “The Russians,” and I might have envisioned it as the offshoot epic novel that picked up where book 7, Passage into Light, left off.) It follows the struggles Russian emigres faced during and after the fateful 1917 revolution–something I’d only casually explored to date. At 400 pages, it’s dense, full of history, impeccably researched, and long enough to flesh out both history and fiction in a seamless blend. Loose ends that could have understandably been left hanging were wonderfully resolved by the end. If I could have added just a smidge to the book’s already admirable (truly! In the best way!) length, I would have enjoyed having faith woven in more. Svetlana’s Russian Orthodoxy and Wynn’s Protestantism were certainly discussed; I just wished for more dialogue and attribution of God’s working in their lives. They certainly lived through incredible struggles! (I also find Orthodoxy fascinating … stems out of that ongoing love of the country and its history, not to mention that it has some beautiful artwork, liturgy, and history itself.) There were also a couple comments near the climax that–while I certainly understood and appreciated the motives!–gave me slight pause. But I can’t say how I would have responded myself in such a situation, so. :) All in all, a stunning read. I heartily applaud Ciesielski for this masterpiece of a novel. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer K

    I am a huge fan of J’nell Ciesielski’s writing and every new book is a must read for me! The Ice Swan is my new favorite because of these characters. I just could not get enough of them. I wanted to know all about these people and where their story was going. The story line was rich with history, different settings, neighborhoods and interesting cultures. I greatly appreciated all of that research as it supported the story brilliantly. The twists and turns of the engaging storyline kept me turni I am a huge fan of J’nell Ciesielski’s writing and every new book is a must read for me! The Ice Swan is my new favorite because of these characters. I just could not get enough of them. I wanted to know all about these people and where their story was going. The story line was rich with history, different settings, neighborhoods and interesting cultures. I greatly appreciated all of that research as it supported the story brilliantly. The twists and turns of the engaging storyline kept me turning pages until the end and then I just wanted even more!! Hopefully it won’t be too long before she has a new story for us. I was given an early copy of this book to read. All opinions are my own.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lucinda

    2 1/2, elevated to 3. It was okay. I found the historic parts very interesting. Unfortunately, I didn't connect much to the characters, and I found the dialogue a bit stilted. The different cities and geography are well done and do a good job of cementing the historic setting, as the characters from from Russia to Paris and to Scotland. I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion. 2 1/2, elevated to 3. It was okay. I found the historic parts very interesting. Unfortunately, I didn't connect much to the characters, and I found the dialogue a bit stilted. The different cities and geography are well done and do a good job of cementing the historic setting, as the characters from from Russia to Paris and to Scotland. I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sophia

    WELL. Have you read the author's other book, The Socialite? The Ice Swan carried a very similar vibe. Both deal with escape and high stakes, which kept the tension high and those pages turning. 😋 So, I need to start this with SVETLANA. All right, she isn't the easiest person to connect or even relate to, and I'm not saying that I fully connected to her or had my bookish deep feelings for her character. BUT I really like her! Svetlana felt so authentic; she carried so much princess-zest in her, in WELL. Have you read the author's other book, The Socialite? The Ice Swan carried a very similar vibe. Both deal with escape and high stakes, which kept the tension high and those pages turning. 😋 So, I need to start this with SVETLANA. All right, she isn't the easiest person to connect or even relate to, and I'm not saying that I fully connected to her or had my bookish deep feelings for her character. BUT I really like her! Svetlana felt so authentic; she carried so much princess-zest in her, including all that pride and severeness and whatnot. XD And while she was stubborn -- like, the type where she demands to go walking alone at night while mad people are lurking out there (aka the type that can get on your nerves) -- it didn't feel like she was trying to be a stubborn character, but more that was who she was. And AH, I simply liked her because she was her own person, so full of personality and character. She changed and developed throughout the book, and by the end of it, I was thinking, "this is a whoooole new girl!!" (I proud of Svetlana.) Wynn, on the other hand... Nah, I liked him enough! XD There were certain things where he surprised me by handling a situation better than I thought he would have. :D And can I just say he and Svetlana make the perfect match, their personalities, flaws, and strengths balancing them and bringing out the best from them! Oh, and I need special attention to go to the HUMOR in this book!!!!! #1 Some of the dialogue was pure hilarious, and #2 Leonid was THE BEST. (PLEASE, HE'S SO FUNNY.) (yes, I need to show you the funnyness of Leonid with a quote. Cus I love quotes.) Wynn reached for her hand. “Svetlana, wait. What you’ve done . . . How can I ever tell you—” “Say you love like she love you, Mac.” Leonid apparently thought it wise to insert himself into the narrative once more. (this might not be as hilarious as I thought since this seems pretty out-of-context for those who haven't read the book.. Oh well.) I'd say, though, that this is more historical fiction than Christian fiction. There wasn't any mention of Jesus or of the characters having a relationship with Him, so that aspect was non-existent. Despite that, there were some good morals and Christian principles implemented further into the book. It dealt with pride and the mistake of setting a too-high expectation on others and also purpose and trust in a relationship. Althoouuughhh, there was something in the end that one of the characters said got me to raise an eyebrow and go "excuuuuuseeeee me". That was more of the reason why I deducted a star. All those aside, I had a good time reading this book. [random acknowledgment] I'd say it's more of an entertaining read than a heavily "inspiring" one [close random acknowledgment]. The pacing was well done, with plenty of intrigue to make me flip the pages. The description and uses of Russian terms and traditions made the scenery and characters come alive and feel so authentic. And the characters -- mainly just Svetlana (and Leonid :p) -- made me love them (except Princess Ana, oh, how I disliked her...) and enjoy their company. Definitely a recommendation to any historical lover. :) ** “Fear make walls. Only strongest flower bloom over tallest wall. No stop climbing. Look at Reds. Build wall of fear and hate. Hate never win.”

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    The Ice Swan by J'nell Ciesielski Rating: 4.5/5 Wow. This book was very good. The author weaves a fascinating story set during the Great War surrounding Russian royalty and a Scottish surgeon. I was pulled in from the beginning and didn't want to stop reading. There's some suspenseful elements within the narrative since the Bolsheviks are still after any remnants of the royal family but the swoony love story is beautiful. I loved the female lead, Svetlana, so much because she was trying to go again The Ice Swan by J'nell Ciesielski Rating: 4.5/5 Wow. This book was very good. The author weaves a fascinating story set during the Great War surrounding Russian royalty and a Scottish surgeon. I was pulled in from the beginning and didn't want to stop reading. There's some suspenseful elements within the narrative since the Bolsheviks are still after any remnants of the royal family but the swoony love story is beautiful. I loved the female lead, Svetlana, so much because she was trying to go against her snobby upbringing and Russian coldness but she still had her own trust issues like so many of us. As a medical student, I liked the male lead, Wynn, a lot because he was just trying to save his patients. He really cared about them but also had to acknowledge the "god-complex" that many surgeons have to deal with. The two of them really seem like a perfect match - obviously, they are not perfect individuals but they were perfect for each other. I wouldn't have minded some more dancing in the book but the story didn't necessarily need it (I just love ballet). As someone who has been to Russia, I also enjoyed all the Russian language and foods slipped into the story. I would have loved a Russian recipe at the end ;) Although the book is published by Thomas Nelson, I would not classify this book as Christian fiction because the faith aspects are brief and almost non-existent. As intense as the situation was in Paris, I would have preferred more incorporation about how faith encourages during dark times, but the story is still very exciting and eye-opening. Highly recommend if you enjoy clean, historical romance with action, suspense and a lot of heart. My thanks to the author and publisher for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Abigail Harris

    The Ice Swan is a powerful and beautiful novel of exile, heartbreak, redemption, and love amid war. Wynn is a hero who was at first glance quite ... Normal. Until I got further in the book and his strengths and his character showed that the author made a character who went deeper in ways that I loved seeing and made the words jump off of the pages even more. Svetlana is a heroine I could instantly like and I felt her emotions as surly as if they were my own. Ciesielski wove a story that charmed, de The Ice Swan is a powerful and beautiful novel of exile, heartbreak, redemption, and love amid war. Wynn is a hero who was at first glance quite ... Normal. Until I got further in the book and his strengths and his character showed that the author made a character who went deeper in ways that I loved seeing and made the words jump off of the pages even more. Svetlana is a heroine I could instantly like and I felt her emotions as surly as if they were my own. Ciesielski wove a story that charmed, delighted, and made me fall in love. I love every bit, the characters, the setting, the mystery and danger, and the romance. And, I'll not spoil it by naming the character but there was one side character who I LOVED seeing more of even when I expected his part in the story was over. I voluntarily received and reviewed a complimentary e/copy of this book which I received from the author/publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Marguerite Gray

    I have always loved Russian history ever since I took a Russian history course in college. I consumed fiction and non-fiction on the subject. The Ice Sway has taken me back to the drama of the 1900s when the nation of darkness and ice imploded. The author’s portrayal of her heroine as a stoic, icy princess captures the country’s hold on the world. Only in the meeting and melding with other fragile lives does the true heart of the Russian commence to use her powers of strength for good. Trust is a I have always loved Russian history ever since I took a Russian history course in college. I consumed fiction and non-fiction on the subject. The Ice Sway has taken me back to the drama of the 1900s when the nation of darkness and ice imploded. The author’s portrayal of her heroine as a stoic, icy princess captures the country’s hold on the world. Only in the meeting and melding with other fragile lives does the true heart of the Russian commence to use her powers of strength for good. Trust is an element in a relationship that holds great weight. If treated lightly, harm hangs around every turn. If treated without forgiveness, relationships can be severed. The balance is a must. Add a war, strict boundaries, different languages and cultures, cold climates, volatile times. Trust gets swallowed up as decisions are made. What is truth in the worst circumstances?

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kelly • Kell of a Read

    5⭐️ I’ve never been a historical romance reader (then again, I wasn’t actually any kind of romance reader until pretty recently) but I like historical fiction and I’m fascinated by Russian history. I picked this book up in an ongoing attempt to broaden my literary horizons and I’m so glad that I did. The writing was fantastic, the plot was enticing, and the romance was charming. My only regret is beginning my historical romance journey with such a talented author because J’nell Ciesielski has se 5⭐️ I’ve never been a historical romance reader (then again, I wasn’t actually any kind of romance reader until pretty recently) but I like historical fiction and I’m fascinated by Russian history. I picked this book up in an ongoing attempt to broaden my literary horizons and I’m so glad that I did. The writing was fantastic, the plot was enticing, and the romance was charming. My only regret is beginning my historical romance journey with such a talented author because J’nell Ciesielski has set the bar very, very high. Okay, actually I do have one other minor regret: I wish I had skipped the blurb. I rarely, if ever, read them and just skimmed this one, but it’s pretty detailed and I found myself wishing I didn’t know so much about the story ahead of time.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Joanne | wellreadcoffeeaddict

    I have many thoughts about this novel. First off, the cover. I'd buy the book for the cover alone. 😍 It's purely magical. I love the concept of this story - Russian royalty fleeing during the turbulent Russian Revolution meets Scottish dukedom in Paris near the end of the Great War. Although there was a lot going on in the story, The Ice Swan did stand out among the many other historical books I've read. I lived for Svetlana and Wynn's intellectual back-and-forth. Seriously, Wynn's comments and S I have many thoughts about this novel. First off, the cover. I'd buy the book for the cover alone. 😍 It's purely magical. I love the concept of this story - Russian royalty fleeing during the turbulent Russian Revolution meets Scottish dukedom in Paris near the end of the Great War. Although there was a lot going on in the story, The Ice Swan did stand out among the many other historical books I've read. I lived for Svetlana and Wynn's intellectual back-and-forth. Seriously, Wynn's comments and Svetlana's quick wit made their chemistry so much more real. This is a marriage of convenience story, yet the romance isn't at the forefront driving the plot. I mean, in the first half at least. Which, considering Svetlana's on the run and Wynn has important issues to deal with, makes me very happy because there's nothing I despise more than a story rife with danger and intrigue and the couple decides the most important issue at present is the state of their relationship. The second half is a bit slower as it focuses more on the romance, but I liked seeing the character growth on both sides as they navigated married life and discovered what they want from the marriage. The characters felt a bit... characterized to me. Like, Svetlana and her icy demeanour, Wynn and his 'I hate titles, just let me operate', and don't get me started on Her High-and-Mighty-Highness mother (can you tell I didn't like her?). Because of this, I couldn't warm up to the characters properly. Wynn's singleminded pursuit of Svetlana didn't make much sense other than to drive the plot forward. Speaking of titles, Wynn's distaste for them did make sense. It was interesting seeing how passionate he was as a surgeon, how safe he felt from aristocratic duties being the second son, only to have that taken away from him (view spoiler)[ when he inherits the dukedom (hide spoiler)] . Watching him grapple with the fact that life doesn't always play out how we demand made him feel more human to me than any other character. While The Ice Swan is published by Thomas Nelson, it's more historical romance than christian. Content-wise, the romance is very clean. J'Nell Ciesielski takes an otherwise bleak landscape and paints over it in vibrant colours to create this vivid story of an ice princess on the run. This is my first book from her but most certainly won't be my last! I received a complimentary copy of The Ice Swan through the publisher and NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. A positive review is not required.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Wardwell

    My thoughts The Ice Swan was a riveting page turner that kept me up later than I needed to be and distracted from my obligations. The way J’nell Ciesielski used her words to put the reader right in the middle of Petrogad, Paris, and Scotland at the end of World War I and the Russian Revolution was simply inspiring. I could feel the fear, heartbreak, and yes, love, as Svetlana traversed from Russian aristocracy to destitution. Her fear of the Bolsheviks was palpable as much as her growing admirati My thoughts The Ice Swan was a riveting page turner that kept me up later than I needed to be and distracted from my obligations. The way J’nell Ciesielski used her words to put the reader right in the middle of Petrogad, Paris, and Scotland at the end of World War I and the Russian Revolution was simply inspiring. I could feel the fear, heartbreak, and yes, love, as Svetlana traversed from Russian aristocracy to destitution. Her fear of the Bolsheviks was palpable as much as her growing admiration for a certain hero. Wynn was definitely a bit cocky, but who wouldn’t be if they saw a flaw in a system and had a way to fix it. but he wasn’t full of himself, he was confident in what he knew and stood behind it. No matter the cost. Though Svetlana gave him a run for his money, I still think it was a good match. The best teams are polar opposites, right? His wild Scot paired with her proper princess was the perfect pairing. Now, let’s talk about her mother. Now, I apologize if what I am about to say sounds harsh. As I read each scene with Svetlana’s mother, I search my memory for a way to get her away from her daughters. I recall thinking “Will someone please lock her bedroom door from the outside?” I know, it’s mean, but she had me irritated to no end. I understand it is about up bringing, but wow! There was one lesson that stood out to me through this book. “Just because it is something you have always known to be true, does not mean it is good for you.” Svetlana had a hard time trusting anyone not Russian, and at that, she was still questioning. the more she became comfortable with a “Russian rescuer” the more she saw how shady his life and practices were. She went to him because she thought she could trust him, because he was a displaced Russian like herself. Poor Wynn had an uphill battle with this one. I knew when I finished The Socialite, I would forever enjoy anything J’nell Ciesielski published. The Ice Swan proved my hunch to be spot on. She is an author worth reading. ***I was given a copy of this book from the publisher through CelebrateLit Publicities. All views are strictly my own and a positive review was not required.

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