The Mirrored World

Debra Dean. Harper, $25.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-123145-2
In her second novel (after The Madonnas of Leningrad), Dean returns to Russia to reimagine the intriguing life story of St. Xenia, as seen through the eyes of the fictional narrator, Dashenka. A terrible fire in 1736 in St. Petersburg forces a young Xenia; her sister, Nadya; and their mother to seek refuge in Dasha’s childhood home. The girls grow up together and are ushered into society the same year. Soon after, Xenia falls in love with Col. Andrei Petrov and the two wed. Dasha is not so lucky, but is kindly welcomed into Xenia’s house, where she witnesses Xenia unravel, first over her difficulty in conceiving, then the deaths of her only baby and husband. When an unstable Xenia begins to relinquish her worldly possessions, Dasha becomes concerned, and Xenia suddenly disappears, only to resurface years later as a saint to the poor—much to the chagrin of the royals. For those familiar with the story of St. Xenia, this is a gratifying take on a compelling woman. For others, Dean’s vivid prose and deft pacing make for a quick and entertaining read. Agent: Marly Rusoff. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/30/2012
Release date: 08/01/2012
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Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-06-219892-1
Book - 978-0-7927-9198-0
Book - 978-0-06-220508-7
Book - 978-0-06-220487-5
Paperback - 286 pages - 978-0-06-220144-7
Paperback - 245 pages - 978-0-06-123146-9
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-06-221855-1
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