The Kirilov Star

Written by Mary Nichols
Review by Ann Northfield

Beginning in November 1920, this novel follows the life and struggles of Lydia Kirilova, who leaves Russia as a small child. As a member of an aristocratic family, she is in great danger because of the Russian Revolution. Escape is not simple, however, and she ends up becoming separated from her parents, eventually being rescued and adopted by a childless British couple.

Changing her name to Lydia Stoneleigh, she lives the privileged life of any upper-class girl of the time, yet something always tugs her back to her homeland and, falling under the spell of fellow immigrant Kolya, she decides to return to seek out her roots. Many adventures befall her, and she returns to England in time for the Second World War to erupt.

The novel is reasonably well-researched without being too fact-heavy. It’s more of a lightweight beach read rather than a literary tome; perhaps the fact that the author has written many books for Mills & Boon might help you decide if it is for you or not. It is a little predictable and runs out of steam in the last third, as the reasons for the lovers not to reunite immediately was not particularly convincing and seemed to be included only to lengthen the book. There are some interesting parts, and it is not without entertainment value by any means. Undemanding but not spectacular might just sum it up.