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Publisher's Summary

Leningrad in 1952: a city recovering from war, where Andrei, a young doctor and Anna, a school teacher, are forging a life together. Summers at the dacha, preparations for the hospital ball, work and the care of 16-year-old Kolya fill their minds. They try hard to avoid coming to the attention of the authorities, but even so their happiness is precarious. Stalin is still in power, and the Ministry for State Security has new targets in its sights. When Andrei has to treat the seriously ill child of a senior secret police officer he finds himself and his family caught in an impossible game - for in a land ruled by whispers and watchfulness, betrayal can come from those closest to you.
©2010 Helen Dunmore (P)2010 Isis Publishing Ltd
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Critic Reviews

"An absorbing and thoughtful tale." (Guardian)
"Superbly well paced." (Telegraph)
"Dunmore's writing... is sensuous, physical and almost synaesthetic." ( Independent)
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Customer Reviews

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By helen on 04-12-13

miserable reminder of Stalin's Russia

well written but terrible. A much loved and respected paediatrician is tricked into taking on the care of a fatally sick son of a top KGB official. The consequences, despite excellent medical care and totally beyond the control of the doctor, have profound implications for the patient and doctor and his family.I had to skip the years of misery, read the end and then go back and try to endure them. awful and probably very representative of what went on under Stalin.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful


By Learning is fun! on 07-21-17

Moving and insightful

I enjoyed this story; there was enough human interest as well as historical content to keep the reader wondering what the end was going to be like.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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