“All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.”
-Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Hey guys! You may not know this about me, but I love books set in Russia. I’ve also tried to learn Russian in the past (leading my sister-in-law to think I was a spy), and really want to visit the country at some point! This has probably all stemmed from the stories my grandparents used to tell me about living in Siberian work camps. Nope, not romantic or brilliant at all, but obviously these stories were heavily censored for a young Mia, and took on this sheen of adventure! And travel! That seems to have lingered to this day….
So here I have for you my top five favourite books set in Russia!
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Was I tempted to include all three of the Grisha trilogy books in my top five? YES. Leigh Bardugo is a queen. And this YA fantasy rendition of Russia is just gorgeous. If you haven’t already read this trilogy.. READ IT! I adore it.
The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall
Okay, so I cheated a little here. BUT, The Russian Concubine is the first book in a historical fiction trilogy that has a Russian as one of the main characters and subsequent books *may* or may not be set there, so you should check this one out! Plus it is just brilliant and one of my fave books ever!
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
The classic love story set during the Russian Revolution and just beautiful. If you’re into classics, check this one out!
The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye
A magical YA that’s a historical fantasy set in Imperial Russia, with two teenagers competing to become the Imperial Enchanter. Only one can win, and the losing price is death itself. Beautifully evoked, this is a gorgeous read and the second book in the duology is coming out next month, so if you time it right, you can binge read both together and not have to wait a year in between like I have been suffering through! *flails dramatically*
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Well, I couldn’t very well have a list of my favourites set in Russia and not include Tolstoy! I found War and Peace to be half delightful (the peace parts) and half tedious (the war parts), but Anna Karenina remains one of my favourite classics of all time. If you enjoy reading books by Austen or the Brontes, then you’ll enjoy Anna Karenina! It is a beautiful love story that will stay with you forever.
And now that I’m finishing, it has just occurred to me that I’ve left out The Bronze Horseman, another beautiful love story and historical fiction set in Russia. Oops!
Has anyone read any of these? What did you think? And can you think of any more to add to this list? I might have to do a part two!
Thank you for reading!