A sure sign of a good book is its fascinating, plausible world. One that is so enchanting that you want to plunge into it at full speed like a seabird diving into the ocean.
You are carried headlong through this uncharted universe, marvelling and gasping at every turn. Its characters are strong, decisive, and witty, and you can't help but immediately fall in love with them.
If this is the sort of thing you enjoy, I will take you to these worlds and introduce you to these characters. Come on, let's take flight together!
“It’s an Argentine tango,” said Klim. “You should stand closer to me.”
“Like this?” Nina looked into his eyes for a moment, moved closer, and Klim felt her light breath on his neck.
“Yes, that’s right.” He placed her hand on his shoulder and took her gently by the waist.
“So, what do I have to do?” she asked.
“Just follow me.”
They danced, and he felt the hard touch of the rings on her slender hand, the warmth of her thigh through the silk of her skirts, the tense muscles of her back, and something else: the intimate seam of a shift beneath her dress under his shameless, tingling fingers.
The singer sang about impossible happiness. Klim looked at the woman in his arms, and his heart froze with the inspiration and foreboding of something huge and inevitable.
Nina had reminded him of the magical foxes of Chinese and Japanese folklore who could transform themselves into beguiling women. In China, they were known as húli jīng and in Japan kitsune.
With their magical abilities, these vixens could fool men into falling in love with them. And woe to the man who failed to recognize the bushy tail concealed beneath her silk robe. Even if she were to reciprocate the love of a mere mortal, nothing good could ever come of it. Sooner or later the fox would reveal her true nature.
Nina followed Oscar through a succession of rooms, and she was barely able to believe her eyes. Here, in the heart of communist Moscow, was a veritable oasis of capitalism. Every chair and every vase was a work of art.
What is Oscar Reich’s line of work? she wondered. Was he a foreign diplomat? How could the Soviet government allow him to live in such dazzling splendor?
She could not resist asking a question. “Tell me, who are you? What do you do?”
“I’m a Red capitalist,” answered Oscar, smiling.
Klim was superior to her in every way. He had numerous friends—from stage workers to riverboat pilots. He had read Anna Karenina and Vanity Fair, books that Lubochka was not even allowed to hold in her hands for fear that their dubious subject matter would contaminate her morals.
Klim could explore ancient ruins, talk to gypsy fortune tellers, or ride the top of a double-decker while Lubochka was not allowed to do anything. Her parents loved her so much that they did not let her go anywhere without her governess. And how would it even be possible to bring Mademoiselle Emma to any ancient ruins with her shortness of breath?
Currently, I am in the process of writing a novel about a young queen who understands that she is as ill-suited to be her nation’s ruler as she is to be a pterodactyl pilot.
Being her people’s spiritual leader is not her cup of tea, either. If she had her way, she would lead them to the Fiery Mountains or the haunted jungles by the Iridescent River. Her people definitely don’t need to go there.
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While my novel is a work in progress, every week I will send you amusing stories about my Soviet childhood. I’m sure they will appeal to all lovers of speculative fiction. Back then, we lived in a weird yet fascinating world that resembled the backdrop of a dystopian movie.
Fans of historical fiction, particularly that set amid the Russian Revolution, will be rewarded with highly dramatic prose and excellent period details. Baryakina provides surprising twists and turns and a cliffhanger that will leave readers eager for the next book.
In Russian Treasures, Baryakina provides the perfect blend of romance, history, drama, and suspense. Her narrative is descriptive, flowing, and chock-full of twists, turns, and surprises along the way. She builds a complex cast of characters against a politically complex background when the ruthless and lawless struggle for power and resources resulted in terrible suffering for the Russian people. A compelling read. Highly recommended.
A triumph of human spirit and literary arts.
My life is like a Disney cartoon. Like Belle from Beauty and the Beast, I was born in a provincial town, read tons of books, and dreamt of distant lands and adventures.
Like The Little Mermaid, I followed my prince into an unknown world—to America. But I had to pay a dear price for it. I lost the most valuable thing I had: my voice—I did not speak English.
Like Mulan, I gave myself a task that initially seemed impossible: I decided that I would write novels that would not be inferior to my favorite books.
It took twenty years, but now I know that everything is possible if you’re persistent enough.