• Hardcover: 256 pages
• Publisher: Harper (August 28, 2012)
The bestselling author of The Madonnas of Leningrad returns with a breathtaking novel of love, madness, and devotion set against the extravagant royal court of eighteenth-century St. Petersburg.
Born to a Russian family of lower nobility, Xenia, an eccentric dreamer who cares little for social conventions, falls in love with Andrei, a charismatic soldier and singer in the Empress’s Imperial choir. Though husband and wife adore each other, their happiness is overshadowed by the absurd demands of life at the royal court and by Xenia’s growing obsession with having a child—a desperate need that is at last fulfilled with the birth of her daughter. But then a tragic vision comes true, and a shattered Xenia descends into grief, undergoing a profound transformation that alters the course of her life. Turning away from family and friends, she begins giving all her money and possessions to the poor. Then, one day, she mysteriously vanishes.
Years later, dressed in the tatters of her husband’s military uniform and answering only to his name, Xenia is discovered tending the paupers of St. Petersburg’s slums. Revered as a soothsayer and a blessed healer to the downtrodden, she is feared by the royal court and its new Empress, Catherine, who perceives her deeds as a rebuke to their lavish excesses. In this evocative and elegantly written tale, Dean reimagines the intriguing life of Xenia of St. Petersburg, a patron saint of her city and one of Russia’s most mysterious and beloved holy figures. This is an exploration of the blessings of loyal friendship, the limits of reason, and the true costs of loving deeply.
Debra Dean’s bestselling debut novel, The Madonnas of Leningrad was a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a #1 Booksense Pick, a Booklist Top Ten Novel, and an American Library Association Notable Book of the Year. It has been published in twenty languages. Her collection of short stories,Confessions of a Falling Woman, won the Paterson Fiction Prize and a Florida Book Award.
Her new novel, The Mirrored World, will be released August 2012.
A native of Seattle, she lives in Miami and teaches at Florida International University.
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Debra’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, August 28th: Historical Tapestry – “Why I Love …” Guest Post
Wednesday, August 29th: Reflections of a Bookaholic
Thursday, August 30th: Unabridged Chick
Monday, September 3rd: Lit and Life
Wednesday, September 5th: Diary of an Eccentric
Thursday, September 6th: Booktalk & More
Monday, September 10th: The Book Garden
Wednesday, September 12th: Chaotic Compendiums
Thursday, September 13th: Man of La Book
Thursday, September 13th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Monday, September 17th: BookNAround
Wednesday, September 19th: A Library of My Own
Monday, September 24th: Broken Teepee
Tuesday, September 25th: West Metro Mommy
Wednesday, September 26th: Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, September 26th: Raging Bibliomania