What if a fairy tale that you've been told your whole life turns out to be true?
Meredith and Nina's mother has always been cold and distant towards them. They know very little about their mother; they are not even sure how old she is. All they know is that she is Russian and that when winter hits, their mother becomes sullen and depressed. She spends a lot of time in her winter garden staring at a copper column. Their father had always been the more affectionate one and they lived for him and tried not to love their mother. They tried and tried, for many years, until they just gave up hope.
Years later, Meredith and Nina are in different stages of their lives. Meredith is struggling with an empty nest and her marriage while Nina is jet-setting across the world photographing the world's worst events. One day, Nina gets a call that rocks her world, her father has had a heart attack and the prognosis doesn't look good.
Before he dies, he makes his two daughters promise him a certain request. For Meredith, he asks her to take care of her mother and to take the time to try and learn who she is. For Nina, he asks her to make her mother tell her the complete version of the fairy tale. A tale about a peasant girl named Vera, a prince, an evil black knight, dragons, trolls and people being turned into smoke.
Nina gets what she wants and much more; the fairy tale that she has spent her whole life listening to changes into a tale of a woman living in war-torn Leningrad during World War II. The truth of the fairy tale changes everything, their family, and even them.
Kristin Hannah does an amazing job of bring these characters to life. This tale is hauntingly beautiful and will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. I highly recommend listening to the CD book. The narrator does a great job of telling Anya's fairy tale, complete with Russian accent.
Recommended by Tracy Alexander