The Cruel Romance

Written by Marina Osipova
Review by Joanna Urquhart

Marina Osipova’s The Cruel Romance begins in a small village outside Moscow in 1941, when a young woman named Serafima is sending her beloved, Vitya, off to join the Soviet officer corps. Shortly after Vitya’s departure, the German army invades the village, and soldiers are billeted in the homes of the inhabitants.

Osipova uses this dual-path plot line to bring some very different aspects of the Second World War to life, and her characters, both Vitya and Serafima and the people they meet, are vividly and touchingly drawn.