I found this an interesting read, I’d never read a story based in Leningrad and it was a nice change from other war settings.
The main characters of the story, the two sisters, were fairly cliche. One sister out being a lone adventurer, the other feeling the weight of the family as she stayed for the family business. It followed the same tropes that come with that type of character set up.
Their mother’s fairytales were the basis of the story being told, and we are from the start trying to work out why they mean so much to their mother and why she continues to tell them. Why does she sit out in her garden, why is she so angry and distant?
It starts well and familiar. However, I feel like the fairytale could have stayed a fairytale for much longer that it did. Also, ironically it’s a bit of a fairytale that the daughters could suddenly take time out of their lives with a days notice to travel – which was the most unrealistic part of the story.
I wasn’t impressed with the pacing, or with the ending. I really, really disliked the ending. I thought it was unnecessary and bizarre out of all the places that the story could have gone.
The meat of the mothers story was great, I found her story interesting and gripping. It kept me reading the whole time, and it was an easy read.
I’m not a fan of the family structure cliche used, I also have difficulty with stories set in war times due to the lazy nature of storytelling. Having said this, it was an enjoyable read and I found the setting and time interesting.