website statistics The True Memoirs of Little K - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

The True Memoirs of Little K

Availability: Ready to download

Exiled in Paris, tiny, one-hundred-year-old Mathilde Kschessinska sits down to write her memoirs before all that she believes to be true is forgotten. A lifetime ago, she was the vain, ambitious, impossibly charming prima ballerina assoluta of the tsar’s Russian Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg. Now, as she looks back on her tumultuous life, she can still recall every sli Exiled in Paris, tiny, one-hundred-year-old Mathilde Kschessinska sits down to write her memoirs before all that she believes to be true is forgotten. A lifetime ago, she was the vain, ambitious, impossibly charming prima ballerina assoluta of the tsar’s Russian Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg. Now, as she looks back on her tumultuous life, she can still recall every slight she ever suffered, every conquest she ever made. Kschessinka’s riveting storytelling soon thrusts us into a world lost to time: that great intersection of the Russian court and the Russian theater. Before the revolution, Kschessinska dominated that world as the greatest dancer of her age. At seventeen, her crisp, scything technique made her a star. So did her romance with the tsarevich Nicholas Romanov, soon to be Nicholas II. It was customary for grand dukes and sons of tsars to draw their mistresses from the ranks of the ballet, but it was not customary for them to fall in love. The affair could not endure: when Nicholas ascended to the throne as tsar, he was forced to give up his mistress, and Kschessinska turned for consolation to his cousins, two grand dukes with whom she formed an infamous ménage à trois. But when Nicholas’s marriage to Alexandra wavered after she produced girl after girl, he came once again to visit his Little K. As the tsar’s empire—one that once made up a third of the world—began its fatal crumble, Kschessinka’s devotion to the imperial family would be tested in ways she could never have foreseen. In Adrienne Sharp’s magnificently imagined novel, the last days of the three-hundred-year-old Romanov empire are relived. Through Kschessinska’s memories of her own triumphs and defeats, we witness the stories that changed history: the seething beginnings of revolution, the blindness of the doomed court, the end of a grand, decadent way of life that belonged to the nineteenth century. Based on fact, The True Memoirs of Little K is historical fiction as it’s meant to be written: passionately eventful, crammed with authentic detail, and alive with emotions that resonate still.


Compare

Exiled in Paris, tiny, one-hundred-year-old Mathilde Kschessinska sits down to write her memoirs before all that she believes to be true is forgotten. A lifetime ago, she was the vain, ambitious, impossibly charming prima ballerina assoluta of the tsar’s Russian Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg. Now, as she looks back on her tumultuous life, she can still recall every sli Exiled in Paris, tiny, one-hundred-year-old Mathilde Kschessinska sits down to write her memoirs before all that she believes to be true is forgotten. A lifetime ago, she was the vain, ambitious, impossibly charming prima ballerina assoluta of the tsar’s Russian Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg. Now, as she looks back on her tumultuous life, she can still recall every slight she ever suffered, every conquest she ever made. Kschessinka’s riveting storytelling soon thrusts us into a world lost to time: that great intersection of the Russian court and the Russian theater. Before the revolution, Kschessinska dominated that world as the greatest dancer of her age. At seventeen, her crisp, scything technique made her a star. So did her romance with the tsarevich Nicholas Romanov, soon to be Nicholas II. It was customary for grand dukes and sons of tsars to draw their mistresses from the ranks of the ballet, but it was not customary for them to fall in love. The affair could not endure: when Nicholas ascended to the throne as tsar, he was forced to give up his mistress, and Kschessinska turned for consolation to his cousins, two grand dukes with whom she formed an infamous ménage à trois. But when Nicholas’s marriage to Alexandra wavered after she produced girl after girl, he came once again to visit his Little K. As the tsar’s empire—one that once made up a third of the world—began its fatal crumble, Kschessinka’s devotion to the imperial family would be tested in ways she could never have foreseen. In Adrienne Sharp’s magnificently imagined novel, the last days of the three-hundred-year-old Romanov empire are relived. Through Kschessinska’s memories of her own triumphs and defeats, we witness the stories that changed history: the seething beginnings of revolution, the blindness of the doomed court, the end of a grand, decadent way of life that belonged to the nineteenth century. Based on fact, The True Memoirs of Little K is historical fiction as it’s meant to be written: passionately eventful, crammed with authentic detail, and alive with emotions that resonate still.

30 review for The True Memoirs of Little K

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Huston

    A novel about Mathilde Kschessinskaya, the mistress of Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia. While there are some good things in here, and plenty of description and emotional writing, this turned into a wallbanger very quickly. YMMV. For the complete review, please go here: http://www.epinions.com/review/Book_T... A novel about Mathilde Kschessinskaya, the mistress of Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia. While there are some good things in here, and plenty of description and emotional writing, this turned into a wallbanger very quickly. YMMV. For the complete review, please go here: http://www.epinions.com/review/Book_T...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Natasa

    I was hooked with the storytelling from the viewpoint if one in the arts and was enjoying the story, but about halfway through the book, I began to lose interest as the story became flat with additional information. The author did not hold my interest.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jaime Boler

    Mathilde Kschessinska (1872-1971) comes to life in Adrienne Sharp's The True Memoirs of Little K in the same way she lit up the stage as a ballet dancer. Kschessinska rose up in the ranks of the Russian Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg to become prima ballerina assoluta with a little help from her powerful paramour, Tsar Nicholas II. Sharp successfully recreates the splendor, extravagance, and excess of a dynasty whose days were numbered, though no one knew it. In fact, Sharp's storytelling ski Mathilde Kschessinska (1872-1971) comes to life in Adrienne Sharp's The True Memoirs of Little K in the same way she lit up the stage as a ballet dancer. Kschessinska rose up in the ranks of the Russian Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg to become prima ballerina assoluta with a little help from her powerful paramour, Tsar Nicholas II. Sharp successfully recreates the splendor, extravagance, and excess of a dynasty whose days were numbered, though no one knew it. In fact, Sharp's storytelling skills are so masterful that I frequently forgot that I was reading fiction. Sharp is a lover of the ballet from a very young age and trained at the Harkness Ballet in New York. She has attended Johns Hopkins University where she received an M.A. with honors and was awarded a Henry Hoyns Fellowship at the University of Virginia. She previously wrote the national bestseller White Swan, Black Swan, which was a Barnes & Noble Discover Selection, and The Sleeping Beauty, named one of the ten best first novels of 2005 by Booklist. The True Memoirs of Little K was a finalist for the California Book Award. Oprah Winfrey also chose the novel as one of Oprah Book Club's 10 Fantastic Books for fall 2010. In 1971 Paris, one hundred-year-old Kschessinska decides to write down her life story before she dies. She was once a proud, talented, and ambitious young woman who inhabited a different world. "The world I knew was grand," she confides, "the court more elaborate than the French court under Louis XIV." Kschessinska reveals she was the lover of not one but two grand dukes. Yet she was more than that: she was mistress to the last tsar of Russia. Nicholas called her "Little K." Her relationship with the tsar is one of which she takes full advantage, and it allows her to rise up the ranks of the ballet. Nicholas, though, could not marry Little K; instead, in 1894, he married Alexandra, granddaughter of Queen Victoria. The Russian people were unhappy their tsar was marrying a foreigner. Alix was said to be cold, unfeeling, and a stranger to Russian culture. In Little K's mind, she herself is the perfect match for the tsar, yet she is only a ballet dancer, perfect for affairs but unsuitable for marriage. Little K watches as Alix gives Nicholas children. She one-ups the empress when she gives Nicholas a son, who can never be tsarevich when Alix later gives birth to a son. The son, however, is a hemophiliac, and his survival is not guaranteed. His health is so precarious that the extent of his illness is kept secret from the Russian people. It is here that Sharp shines. Sharp illustrates how the imperial family shut themselves off from the rest of the world to hide the tsarevich's hemophilia. She even writes that the tsar was willing to substitute Little K's son for the tsarevich if the heir had died. This bit of intrigue, though historically inaccurate, is entirely plausible and interesting. Instead of wanting Romanov family and friends around, the empress wants holy-man Rasputin, a disreputable character, maybe even a charlatan. As they alienate themselves from those around them, Russia suffers. Through the eyes of Little K, we see the stirrings of revolution. We also cannot help but notice how the imperial family and those around them ignored the calls for change. Nicholas II "wanted to turn back the clock even as the world was hurtling forward." The three hundred-year-old Romanov dynasty was doomed when they first shut themselves away, intent on hiding a son's illness. For imperial Russia, the twentieth century was late in arriving, for it waited until the revolution. When revolution breaks out, Sharp's pacing becomes hurried. I wondered if this was not deliberate. Things happened so fast at the time. Everything Little K and those around her knew was eroding quickly. Their whole entire social and political order was changing by the minute. I suspect Sharp is simply evoking the era through her narrative. As Little K could not catch her breath, the reader should be able to catch hers. As Sharp re-imagines the life of Little K, creating her own "concoction of fiction and lies," she employs a bit of poetic license. She has "twisted the details of Kschessinska's life, conflating rumor into fact, exercising inconvenient truths, and reconfiguring events and relationships to suit dramatic purpose." Sharp does this beautifully and seamlessly. As Sharp explains, "though conversations are imagined, I have used excerpts from the letters and journals of the principal characters when so indicated, with the exception of Little K herself, who, when it comes to her epistles, as with everything else, serves mostly at the pleasure of my imagination." Sharp combines historical accuracy with what could have happened in the novel. Nothing she writes is implausible. In Sharp's novel, Little K is the prima ballerina assoluta once again, and I know she could not be more pleased. If you are a lover of ballet or of Russian history, The True Memoirs of Little K would be the perfect novel in which to immerse yourself for a weekend. You, like me, will forget you are reading fiction. Let Sharp transport you to a different time and place full of grandeur and filled with intrigue, when tsars loved ballerinas and when ballerinas were superstars. *Adrienne Sharp's The True Memoirs of Little K comes out in paperback on November 1, 2011. Thanks to Elianna Kan for my copy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Howard

    2 Stars for The True Memoirs of Little K by Adrienne Sharp read by Rachel Botchan. I found this book kind of disappointing. I thought it was going to be about Russian ballet. Instead it’s a history lesson on Russia. And from what I’ve read in other reviews some of the history is made up to make the story more interesting. It just wasn’t for me.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Helen Azar

    So, if I was writing this review when I was only half way through the book, it would have definitely gotten 5 stars from me. As things stand, I was going back and forth between 3 and 4 stars, and the reason I wanted to give it 4 was because of an excellent and elegant writing style and also an interesting story which was readable and entertaining. Here is why I ended up giving it only 3 stars(this will contain SPOILERS!). It is a clearly well researched novel, and the first half is historically So, if I was writing this review when I was only half way through the book, it would have definitely gotten 5 stars from me. As things stand, I was going back and forth between 3 and 4 stars, and the reason I wanted to give it 4 was because of an excellent and elegant writing style and also an interesting story which was readable and entertaining. Here is why I ended up giving it only 3 stars(this will contain SPOILERS!). It is a clearly well researched novel, and the first half is historically accurate. However, half way through the book things start getting a little too fantastical for my tastes. First of all, there is absolutely no historical evidence whatsoever that Nicholas II continued to have an affair with Mathilde Kschessinska after his marriage, and yet this is a rather large part of the plot. There is even less evidence that Mathilde's son Vova was the Tsar's son and his paternity was accepted by the Tsar. Not only that, but according to the book Vova was also accepted by the Tsar's family as his son, including his wife and his children, and he spent a significant amount of time at the Alexander Palace with them. Including the days when they were under arrest. This was a little too much for me, but I did finish the book, and even actually enjoyed it on some level. So as long as you can live with this type of glaring poetic licensing, then you may like this book too.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Clare

    Reading The True Memoirs of Little K, which is essentially a bloated outline rather than an actual novel, can only lead the reader to one conclusion—Adrienne Sharp wanted to write a novel about Nicholas II. Why else would she only focus on the interesting prima ballerina assoluta Matilde Kschessinska when she’s sleeping with him, even when she has to twist history to keep him in her life? It’s a disservice to the woman and a disservice to the reader. Avoid.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Long

    If you love richly detailed historical fiction, read this, and then read City of Shadows by Arianna Franklin. This one is set in Russia during the reign of Czar Nicholas and the Bolshevik revolution, written as a memoir of the Czar's mistress, a famous Russian ballerina. City of Shadows picks up with the execution of the Czar's family and is set in pre-WWII Germany, the inflation and food shortages that led to anti-Jewish sentiment and the rise of Hitler. It's a mystery-thriller with a love inte If you love richly detailed historical fiction, read this, and then read City of Shadows by Arianna Franklin. This one is set in Russia during the reign of Czar Nicholas and the Bolshevik revolution, written as a memoir of the Czar's mistress, a famous Russian ballerina. City of Shadows picks up with the execution of the Czar's family and is set in pre-WWII Germany, the inflation and food shortages that led to anti-Jewish sentiment and the rise of Hitler. It's a mystery-thriller with a love interest, but it's the historical detail that makes the book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I've read a lot of novels, historical fiction, and nonfiction books on the last Romanovs and this one outshines them all. Adrienne Sharp, herself a trained ballet dancer, was the perfect author to give voice to Mathilde Kschessinska, prima ballerina of Tsar Nicholas II and his mistress. Through Mathilde's eyes, she gave me a whole new perspective on the Tsar (and on the extended Romanov family members). All that prior knowledge helped turn Mathilde's occasional lapses from the narrative into fut I've read a lot of novels, historical fiction, and nonfiction books on the last Romanovs and this one outshines them all. Adrienne Sharp, herself a trained ballet dancer, was the perfect author to give voice to Mathilde Kschessinska, prima ballerina of Tsar Nicholas II and his mistress. Through Mathilde's eyes, she gave me a whole new perspective on the Tsar (and on the extended Romanov family members). All that prior knowledge helped turn Mathilde's occasional lapses from the narrative into future events into enjoyable, textured, realistic conversation, one I could easily follow. It might have been confusing to someone less familiar with the history. Likewise, I thoroughly enjoyed Sharp's artistic lens and the rabbit trails into ballet, though to someone else that might have seemed tedious. Sharp not only found ways to make a story I knew intimately feel fresh again, she also infused it with tragedy, passion, and even surprise through a thrilling subplot about her son. She effortlessly conveyed the grandeur, the glamor, and intrigues of the royal court without becoming too heavy or flowery. Mathilde yearned for a life she could never have, and through her yearning, the Revolution and its upheavals became all the more tragic. The part I will never, ever forget is when Mathilde is dancing on stage and fantasizes about a future aged Nicholas, his beautiful adult daughters, and his handsome son all watching her from their imperial box. Knowing that future would never happen made it astonishing, lovely, and heart-wrenching all at once.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Acacia

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Whenever I read reviews here or on Amazon, I'm disappointed when people complain that characters aren't "relatable" or they didn't like the book because they couldn't sympathize with the protagonist. That has never stopped me from reading or liking a book because even when something is outside my experience, or the characters are the opposite of who I am, being there can be fascinating. Such is the case with Mathilde Kschessinska who, at the beginning of the story, is one hundred years old and w Whenever I read reviews here or on Amazon, I'm disappointed when people complain that characters aren't "relatable" or they didn't like the book because they couldn't sympathize with the protagonist. That has never stopped me from reading or liking a book because even when something is outside my experience, or the characters are the opposite of who I am, being there can be fascinating. Such is the case with Mathilde Kschessinska who, at the beginning of the story, is one hundred years old and writing her memoirs in Paris. For the balletomane, the first part of the story is an amazing description of ballet training and performance in nineteenth-century Russia. Sharp really hammers home the idea that the dancers were first and foremost servants of the Tsar, as performers, and as sexual playthings for the nobility. Kschessinska is ambitious, both as a ballerina and a concubine for the tsarevich Nicholas Romanov. She is petty, greedy, superficial, but actually in love with "Niki," so much so that after his coronation, when their relationship is officially ended (with contracts and settlements) she publicly pits herself against the new Empress Alexandra while taking solace with the Tsar's two cousins as protectors and spies into the Emperor's private life. As Alexandra repeatedly fails to produce and heir, Nicholas III re-enters Kschessinka's life and she bares him a son. From this point, her goal is to get him (and hopefully herself) into the royal household. Unfortunately the empress gave birth to a son, who inherited the hemophilia in Queen Victoria's bloodline. Since the boy could die at any time from even a minor accident, Kschessinka's son becomes a safety-net for the Romanov line, giving Nicholas "an heir and a spare," taking him away from his mother and making him part of the imperial entourage, and sucked in to the family seclusion as Alexandra comes under the spell of Rasputin. All this takes place against the violence and revolution before and during World War I and Nicholas III's inability to deal with it. Kschessinka remains in St. Petersburg through most of the turmoil and describes the violence in the streets, fleeing her palace as it is claimed and sacked by the Bolsheviks with her son imprisoned by the revolutionary government. But she describes it with no emotion, as if she is simply a witness to events that barely touch her. At least until she hears that the royal family is going to be moved closer to Siberia and guesses that the family is going to be executed. She finds a way to get to the family as they are going to the train, where Nicholas gives her son back to her. They then flee with thousands of émigrés to western Europe, after learning that the royal family has been executed and visiting the site and finding that almost all her protectors are dead. The memoir ends with Kschessinka and her son in Paris, where she ran a ballet school and he took odd jobs to keep them afloat. Sadly, after all her dreams of being mother to a future Tsar, her son never became anything and spent his entire life taking care of her. She even muses that if she hadn't taken him away from the Tsar's family, his name would have been in the history books. Her ambition for a moment preferring a dead famous son to a living nobody. Kschessinka isn't exactly a sympathetic character overall. Her life of sumptuous opulence before the revolution and her notoriety as a concubine with too much political power thinking only of herself (she was given ample coal during a severe shortage where many froze to death,) makes her difficult to relate to. That doesn't keep this book from being worth reading, quite the contrary. Books that take us out of our experiences and into the minds of characters allow our understanding of others to open and grow. A lot of interesting people are unsympathetic or come from worlds very different from our own.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Terry Mckone

    I didn't have enough background knowledge to know what was real and what was fiction while reading this book. Once I read it just as fiction I enjoyed it more. I wonder how things would have been different with the Romanovs if they had been more in touch with the people of their country. In the story Mathilda Kschessinska comes across as vain, ambitious, and self absorbed. She as well as many other people in the book suffered from a sense of entitlement. I didn't have enough background knowledge to know what was real and what was fiction while reading this book. Once I read it just as fiction I enjoyed it more. I wonder how things would have been different with the Romanovs if they had been more in touch with the people of their country. In the story Mathilda Kschessinska comes across as vain, ambitious, and self absorbed. She as well as many other people in the book suffered from a sense of entitlement.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Relentlessly ambitious, Mathilde Kschessinska charms, connives, and chassés her way to the center of the Romanov stage. The famed ballerina is the mistress of not one, but three members of the imperial family, including Nicholas II himself. The story of her scandalous life, told in the form of a dictated memoir, opens to us a world of splendor and intrigue that has long since disappeared. Little K, as her "Niki" called her, saw Russia at its most opulent and its most terrifying, and her narrati Relentlessly ambitious, Mathilde Kschessinska charms, connives, and chassés her way to the center of the Romanov stage. The famed ballerina is the mistress of not one, but three members of the imperial family, including Nicholas II himself. The story of her scandalous life, told in the form of a dictated memoir, opens to us a world of splendor and intrigue that has long since disappeared. Little K, as her "Niki" called her, saw Russia at its most opulent and its most terrifying, and her narrative gives the reader an intimate look into this turbulent historical time. The story is dynamic and compulsively readable, particularly for an avid historical fiction fan such as myself. Sharp's greatest success lies in her humanized portrait of a woman whose infamy has often eclipsed her talent. Mathilde is an intriguing character, naively and hopelessly in love with a man she can never have. Throughout the course of the book, the reader sees her subtly change from a impetuous girl to a strong woman who protects herself and her family at all costs. My single gripe with The True Memoirs of Little K is that Sharp's tendency to rely on filler phrases such as "why...", "of course," and "yes..." to interject the ballerina's own thoughts into the book's heavy historical detail. As much as I enjoyed the considerable info about the outfits, the social events, and the political developments, it tended to eclipse the narrative. All in all: I highly recommend Little K to anyone looking for a particularly juicy portion of Russian history or, simply, for the perfect read for a lazy afternoon.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    If it's historical fiction and involves the sordid lives and excesses of monarchs and their courts, count me in. But this story has an added incentive, centering on the life and career of a world famous ballerina. Written as a fictional memoir by one-hundred-year-old Mathilde Kschessinska, former prima ballerina assoluta of the Russian Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg at the turn of the (last) century, this story captures a time at the intersection of the decline of the Romanov empire and risin If it's historical fiction and involves the sordid lives and excesses of monarchs and their courts, count me in. But this story has an added incentive, centering on the life and career of a world famous ballerina. Written as a fictional memoir by one-hundred-year-old Mathilde Kschessinska, former prima ballerina assoluta of the Russian Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg at the turn of the (last) century, this story captures a time at the intersection of the decline of the Romanov empire and rising political unrest. Before the Russian revolution, Kschessinska dominated the ballet world as the greatest dancer of her age. She also became well known for her "attentions" to the Romanov family, particularly as mistress to Tsar Nicholas Romanov. In 1902, Kschessinska gave birth to a son, Prince Vladimir Sergeyevich Romanovsky-Krasinsky, largely suspected of being the son of Tsar Nicholas. (This is all fact!) I found this a fun and fast read, full of great historical, as well as fictional details. Adrienne Sharp, herself a serious ballerina in her earlier years, makes it difficult for us to separate the fact from the fiction. I particularly appreciate her exploration of a dancer's response to "aging out" of the spotlight, in both her public and personal life, and making way for a rapidly changing world for which she was ill-prepared.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    I was delighted to have the opportunity to preview this novel, written as the memoir of a prestigious ballerina who has a life-long affair with the last czar of Russia. The novel appears to have been very well-researched. If anything, I felt that Adrienne Sharp was overly ambitious in presenting so much detail of the history of the fall of the Romanovs. I really struggled through the first half of the book, which read more like a textbook than a novel. Things picked up in the second half, but th I was delighted to have the opportunity to preview this novel, written as the memoir of a prestigious ballerina who has a life-long affair with the last czar of Russia. The novel appears to have been very well-researched. If anything, I felt that Adrienne Sharp was overly ambitious in presenting so much detail of the history of the fall of the Romanovs. I really struggled through the first half of the book, which read more like a textbook than a novel. Things picked up in the second half, but the rather lifeless characters failed to rescue the novel. Historical fiction presents the challenge of drawing the reader in without deviating too far from the facts, and Sharp was just not daring enough in giving her characters some personality. Once Mathilde becomes a mother, her ambition and love for her son breathes some life into her, and the reader is more drawn in. Sharp's portrayal of the city of Petersburg and the inner circle of the aristocracy are sometimes captivating. This was a novel with potential that just came up a little bit short in engaging my interest.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lora King

    After coming off the bestseller Cleopatra, I wasn't eager to jump into another book on history, but this was just a wonderful read. I have loved the story of the Tsar since going to see Nicholas & Alexandra at the movies oh...way back when...and after seeing the movie I read the book it was based on twice. I've loved the stories through the years about Anastasia. So this looked like something I would enjoy, and enjoy it I did. Historical fiction at it's finest. Loved how alive the characters beca After coming off the bestseller Cleopatra, I wasn't eager to jump into another book on history, but this was just a wonderful read. I have loved the story of the Tsar since going to see Nicholas & Alexandra at the movies oh...way back when...and after seeing the movie I read the book it was based on twice. I've loved the stories through the years about Anastasia. So this looked like something I would enjoy, and enjoy it I did. Historical fiction at it's finest. Loved how alive the characters became. I love the twists and turns Little K's life took, how she took hold of life and didn't just let life happen around her. Nice twist on her son's story and on her realization of who was the love of her life. Her description of Petersberg and life at the turn of the century was fascinating. The hardest thing about reading this book was trying to pronounce the Russian names in my mind as I read but just a minor inconvenience...the rest of the story was so fun to read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    RumBelle

    This fiction book, based on facts, was a view of the end of the Romanov dynasty from a unique perspective, the outside looking in. Little K was an Imperial prima ballerina and Tsar Nicholas II mistress. She had a unique connection to him, his family and the end of an era. There was no actual dialogue, but hearing the story from the first person point of view of one woman's voice and memories was poignant and emotional.I also would highly recommend The True Memoir's of Little K. The book is ficti This fiction book, based on facts, was a view of the end of the Romanov dynasty from a unique perspective, the outside looking in. Little K was an Imperial prima ballerina and Tsar Nicholas II mistress. She had a unique connection to him, his family and the end of an era. There was no actual dialogue, but hearing the story from the first person point of view of one woman's voice and memories was poignant and emotional.I also would highly recommend The True Memoir's of Little K. The book is fiction, but it is based on the life of a real woman who was an Imperial ballerina and the mistress of Tsar Nicholas II. Her voice just resonates with the history being told. A truly moving, enchanting book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Brianna Rabe

    I always loved ballet, and with sensations such as Black Swan and ballerina fashion taking center stage, this topic has never been more popular. Sharp does not dive into the performance aspect of the plot, instead focusing on the inner workings of an imperfect narrator. It was also engaging and provoking to read about the Russian Revolution from the other side of the tracks, as the main character is wealthy and insprired by the czarist-run government. I love the idea of historical fiction, and S I always loved ballet, and with sensations such as Black Swan and ballerina fashion taking center stage, this topic has never been more popular. Sharp does not dive into the performance aspect of the plot, instead focusing on the inner workings of an imperfect narrator. It was also engaging and provoking to read about the Russian Revolution from the other side of the tracks, as the main character is wealthy and insprired by the czarist-run government. I love the idea of historical fiction, and Sharp proviees insight into a historical figure with a fictional plot. Definitely recomended!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mimi

    Interestingly, when I looked up Mathilde on Wikipedia, it turns out she was born 100 years to the day before me, so that made figuring out how old she was at each juncture easy :) and she lived to be nearly 100, may God grant me a similarly long life. A very solid, well written, interesting historical fiction (and sometimes more fiction than others, as the author admits in the author's notes) about Tsar Nikolai II's mistress, the dancer Mathilde Kschessinska. Now and then, a bit of a dense, heavy Interestingly, when I looked up Mathilde on Wikipedia, it turns out she was born 100 years to the day before me, so that made figuring out how old she was at each juncture easy :) and she lived to be nearly 100, may God grant me a similarly long life. A very solid, well written, interesting historical fiction (and sometimes more fiction than others, as the author admits in the author's notes) about Tsar Nikolai II's mistress, the dancer Mathilde Kschessinska. Now and then, a bit of a dense, heavy read, but you definitely wanted to keep going and see where it was leading.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    The latest book by Adrienne Sharp, coming out in November, a beautiful, intensely researched, fantastically well-imagined historical novel about the ballerina Mathilde Kschessinska, the mistress of Nicholas II, and her lovers, her ambition, her place vis a vis the court... sorry again to recommend a book that's not out yet!! But I was all over this one--nobody writes about dance the way Adrienne Sharp does. Now she's on a larger stage... get ready! The latest book by Adrienne Sharp, coming out in November, a beautiful, intensely researched, fantastically well-imagined historical novel about the ballerina Mathilde Kschessinska, the mistress of Nicholas II, and her lovers, her ambition, her place vis a vis the court... sorry again to recommend a book that's not out yet!! But I was all over this one--nobody writes about dance the way Adrienne Sharp does. Now she's on a larger stage... get ready!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Daisy

    Nauseating excess and greed. A ballerina who only knows one way to take care of herself and that is to be kept by royalty. Well, and lying. You don't have to like her to like the book. An entertaining, engrossing read. 3+ stars I have always admired an opportunist, being one myself.--that pretty much sums up Little K. Nauseating excess and greed. A ballerina who only knows one way to take care of herself and that is to be kept by royalty. Well, and lying. You don't have to like her to like the book. An entertaining, engrossing read. 3+ stars I have always admired an opportunist, being one myself.--that pretty much sums up Little K.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Littlr K was a ballerina and also mistress to the tsarevich Nicholas. This is a novel about ballet, but also Russian history and the tumultous years leading up to the Russian Revolution.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marie Wreath

    Linking up my blog's posted review, LOVED THIS BOOK!!! So far, easily my favorite piece of historical fiction. http://thelazyw.blogspot.com/2012/01/... Linking up my blog's posted review, LOVED THIS BOOK!!! So far, easily my favorite piece of historical fiction. http://thelazyw.blogspot.com/2012/01/...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Annemarie Bohn

    Great read, although some of the theories don't hold up against history, but a wonderful book and insight into a time I haven't read much about or studied. Great read, although some of the theories don't hold up against history, but a wonderful book and insight into a time I haven't read much about or studied.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    This review is based on an ARC from Edelweiss. This novel is a historical "what-if" set in the end of the late Russian empire. The conceit is that we're reading the memoirs of Mathilde Kshesinskaia, a dancer who did indeed write her memoirs at one point in her later years. The book focuses heavily on Kshesinskaia's adult life and her romance with the future Nicholas II, with about 70% of the book (in my estimation) focusing on K's life from meeting Nicholas through her departure from Russia. What' This review is based on an ARC from Edelweiss. This novel is a historical "what-if" set in the end of the late Russian empire. The conceit is that we're reading the memoirs of Mathilde Kshesinskaia, a dancer who did indeed write her memoirs at one point in her later years. The book focuses heavily on Kshesinskaia's adult life and her romance with the future Nicholas II, with about 70% of the book (in my estimation) focusing on K's life from meeting Nicholas through her departure from Russia. What's good: It's an interesting take on a period less covered in historical fiction (other than the Anastasia survival stories, that is.) What's iffier: As the author fully admits, she put story before accuracy. As a result, there are some major elements in the story that are not just not true, but completely impossible. As someone who researched Kshesinskaia, I wished the author was even more blunt in the afterword than she is, and that she would say it clearly: almost everything regarding the Nicholas-Kshesinskaia relationship after his marriage to Alexandra is fiction here. (Because, in short, that relationship really didn't exist.) Again, the author is writing a novel, not a history book, and I concede that. In addition, as someone who has walked the streets of Petersburg, I can say it is clear from the geographic descriptions that she's never been there. Both of those are the gripes of someone who has worked with this topic before. In terms of a novel construction, my real issue with the book is that it feels more like a fictionalized Wikipedia article than a fully fleshed out plot. That's why I rate the book as okay vs. something higher. Overall: It's not the strongest work of historical fiction, but the topic is fascinating. (And if you read the real memoirs by MK, she's even more high-handed and proud than the MK portrayed here!)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lynette Gaines

    If you're going to write a book of historical fiction with a few tidbits of truth thrown in, the last title I would give it is The True Memoirs of Little K. After reading non-fiction books about Russia over the years I thought this one sounded like fun but I was mistaken. The main character is so unlikable it makes me wonder why anyone would care to read about her. Self centered, thinking only of herself and a son that I'm not even sure she ever had I'm almost disappointed that she escaped to Pa If you're going to write a book of historical fiction with a few tidbits of truth thrown in, the last title I would give it is The True Memoirs of Little K. After reading non-fiction books about Russia over the years I thought this one sounded like fun but I was mistaken. The main character is so unlikable it makes me wonder why anyone would care to read about her. Self centered, thinking only of herself and a son that I'm not even sure she ever had I'm almost disappointed that she escaped to Paris to live out her life. In one non-fiction book, St. Petersburg, a Cultural History by Volkov, it mentioned her four times, nothing flattering....quite the opposite. One excerpt on page 193 reads: The director (of the theater) was disgusted by the open, challenging, and indecorous sexuality of the balerina, "her too short costume, fat, turned out legs and open arms, expressing total self-satisfaction, an invitation to an embrace." The photo in the book is a close-up, showing a pleasant face but her hair is stacked up in a frizzled mess, or possibly she is wearing a hat or a dead porcupine on top. After slogging through this 373 page book, I cannot recommend it to anyone. If you're interested in Russian ballet I recommend Bronislava Nijinska: Early Memoirs. Or, if you want to read more about Nicolas II, I highly recommend The Last Tsar, The Life And Death Of Nicolas II by Edvard Radzinsky. I think the writer went too far in her fictionalized sections such as when we are lead to believe that Little K's son, Vova is about to be secretly exchanged for Alexei one night when it was thought he wouldn't live through the night. In reality there is no evidence that Tsar Nicolas even saw her again after their brief affair before he was married. Every time I came across another blatant falsehood I became more and more disappointed in the book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Harris

    An novel about the Russian ballerina Mathilde Kschessinska and her association with the last Romanovs. The first hundred pages are fairly historically accurate but then the author creates a different parentage for Mathilde's son and imagines that Mathilde revived her relationship with Nicholas II after his marriage. The narrator is the hundred year old Mathilde looking back on her life and she explains that she sometimes lied to the other characters in the novel, especially about her son's paren An novel about the Russian ballerina Mathilde Kschessinska and her association with the last Romanovs. The first hundred pages are fairly historically accurate but then the author creates a different parentage for Mathilde's son and imagines that Mathilde revived her relationship with Nicholas II after his marriage. The narrator is the hundred year old Mathilde looking back on her life and she explains that she sometimes lied to the other characters in the novel, especially about her son's parentage or to make her herself appear like more of an insider at court, so it's possible that the narrator is inventing a story for the reader as well. The idea of Mathilde as an unreliable narrator could have been explored in more detail to explain all the invented and improbable scenes in the novel.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Meri-Lyn

    I liked it. I liked learning a little more about the Romanov family and old Russia. Mathilde was a funny character to me. She was spoiled, privileged and manipulative but a true survivor. I admired that strength more than disliked her other traits. Interesting story based on horrors in history.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Genevieve

    the voice is detestable, but the setting is intriguing.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joey Sharpe

    Haunting and elegiac. Great historical fiction!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ginny

    I watched a few history channel videos on the Romanov family to remind me about this period in Russian history. It enabled me to enjoy this book more then I would have otherwise.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    3.5 stars

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...