Saturday, November 24, 2012

Review: The Mirrored World by Debra Dean



Mirrored World is a fictionalized exploration of the life of Saint Xenia. Below is a rendering of Xenia building a church. Believed to have been born in the 1730's she is credited  with foretelling  the death of Empress Catherine and performing  many acts of charity and prophecy. I had never heard of Xenia so Debra's book was a very thorough exploration of the possibilities of Xenia's life.

The story is told through the eyes of Dashenka. After a major fire in 1736, Xenia comes to live with Dasha's family. The girls fathers are both away at war and though it isn't fully explained, their is a bond between the two families.
Through Dasha's eyes we see Xenia grow up and begin to  show her prophetic powers. As the girls mature Xenia fails to confirm to the demure status required of girls her age. As the girls are outed to society Xenia immediately catches the attention of Andrei a soldier in the Imperial choir.
 Xenia and Andrei are a passionate love match. Xenia initially thrives in the glittering world of the royal family. She is a beautiful glittering addition to the court and she quickly draws Dasha into her world. Dash has failed to receive a marriage offer and Xenia vows to find her a husband.
 As the years pass Xenia's happiness is muted by her inability to have a child and the courts excesses begin to drain her, finally she gives birth to a beautiful daughter. A happy resolution to Xenia's troubled heart seems imminent but  there are still shadows that haunt Xenia's life, tragedies that must unfold to put her on the path she is destined for: a holy prophet.
This was such an absorbing read. At 240 pages it was a quick read but full of deep emotional themes. Dasha and Xenia's lives are so intertwined that their emotional highs and lows resonate within each others hearts. Even when they go years without seeing each other Xenia sends foundlings to Dasha who takes them in and strives to raise their statures in life.
A wonderful historical read that succeeds in creating a snap shot of a period in time and spurs the reader to learn more about the characters and time period.

1 comment:

Cass (Words on Paper) said...

I really want to give this book a go. I had it on my wishlist before and I've been trying to venture out into non-YA stuff. And I love historical fiction.

By the way, you typo-ed 'receive' as 'redeive' about mid-way through the review. :P Just a heads up. Nice review. Glad you liked it!