The Ice Swan by J’Nell Ciesielski

“Amid the violent last days of the glittering Russian monarch, a princess on the run finds her heart where she least expects it.”

Bestselling author and with a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’Nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. She is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle. Learn more at: http://www.jnellciesielski.com.

Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

The Ice Swan opens in the chapter of Russian history, 1917, when the Bolsheviks are ridding the country of royalty. Distant relatives of the Tsar, Princess Svetlana Dalsky and family are fleeing the Blue Palace in Petrograd, seeking safety in Paris. Known as the “cold, conceited, condescending” princess, Svetlana crosses paths with Scotsman surgeon, Dr. Edwynn MacCallan, second son of wealthy Duke of Kilbride. Svetlana and Wynn, each facing fears and distanced by pride and stubbornness, are flung closer when the influenza epidemic strikes her family. A Paris hotel turned hospital is where Dr. Wynn performs daring cardiac surgery and Svetlana reveals her servant heart. Svetlana, a princess who speaks six languages and finds joy in ballet, has become indebted to Sheremetev, ruler of the underworld and the decadent White Bear Club. With his disgusting offer of marriage to offset her mother’s debts and the alarming announcement that the entire Romanov family has been executed, Svetlana races from the club with Wynn in close pursuit.

Readers will thrill to Ciesielski’s crisp details and dialogue as “revolution, murder, and survival tend to block out the pretense of happiness.” Ciesielski’s stunning descriptions of Paris streets and charming exchanges showing humor are delightful; especially as Wynn translates Scottish expressions and puns for Svetlana. Ciesielski uses analogies of caring for plants and the changing threads in a pattern to explain Svetlana’s transformation and tangled feelings. Wynn’s conundrum is very rightly compared to women’s choices and their right to vote. Readers need to bundle up to face the decisions of “duty vs. personal desires, finding grace out of ruin, and turning fear to trust.” Along with traditional Scottish kilts and bannocks, royal tiaras and vareniki, readers will weep with joy at this astonishing story. The Ice Swan, elegant Svetlana will warm readers’ hearts, and as Wynn would say, “It’s a bonny read!”

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral -Paris, Svetlana & family lived in the basement

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