"A library book, I imagine, is a happy book." Cornelia Funke

"Everything puts me in mind of a story." Ben Franklin

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Angel on the Square by Gloria Whelan

Angel on the Square by Gloria Whelan, 2003. CD audio read by Julie Dretzin.

 I listened to the five CDs of this audio book on my commute to work and found it very enjoyable. Dretzin expressively reads the story of Katya, whose mother becomes a lady in waiting to Czarina Alexandra in 1913. Fatherless Katya has been raised with an older male “cousin”, Misha, who believes in revolution and shows her some of the terrible working conditions that children face in their country. This complicates things for Katya, who is a companion to the Grand Duchesses, and especially Anastasia. She comes to love the imperial family like they are her own kin, and watches in agony as things worsen in Russia, war is declared, and criticism of the Czar and Czarina grows from a murmur to a roar.

The story follows Katya from a pampered 11 year old to a resourceful young woman of 18, and over time circumstances test her beliefs and loyalty. I found her to be an earnest, likable character, if occasionally a bit too mature and controlled. Anastasia is high-spirited, spunky and fiercely loyal to her father. Whelan’s story of a difficult and tragic piece of history always kept my attention, and ends on a hopeful note. I will definitely suggest this to young women looking for a rewarding read.

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