The Fabergé Secret

Written by Charles Belfoure
Review by Ilysa Magnus

In St. Petersburg in 1903, Prince Dimitri Markov is a close ally and friend to the Romanov royal family. Tsar Nicholas and his wife and children treat Dimitri as one of their own. Dimitri’s wife, Princess Lara, with whom he has a superficial relationship, has many lovers, and so Dimitri follows suit. His is a life of architectural designs and opulence. Although he need not work for a living, he relishes the creations he has designed.

When Dimitri becomes entranced by Dr. Katya Golitsyn, his world changes. Out of the opulence of his lifestyle and through her eyes comes a growing awareness of the plight of Russian Jews subjected to pogroms, death and devastation. His closest friend, the Tsar, blames this suffering on the victims. Ultimately, Dimitri is faced with a moral dilemma which will obviously change his life path.

Belfoure is an accomplished architect himself and has penned a number of successful historical novels. This isn’t one of them. First, the entire premise is on shaky ground. Second, there are simply too many anachronisms (streets in pre-Revolutionary St. Petersburg named after Soviet-era heroes?). And glaring factual errors that could have been easily researched: Jews do not eat challah bread during Passover!

An easy read, but unfortunately not a book I would recommend.