Thank you NetGalley, J’Nell Ciesielski, and Thomas Nelson Publishing for the opportunity to read this book. It hits shelves on July 6th!
Now, this is a book that I needed this weekend! The Ice Swan by J’Nell Ciesielski is a romance surrounding the Fall of the Tsar of Russia, World War I, and the Spanish Flu Epidemic. It is 1917 and Svetlana and her family are awaken in the middle of the night, knowing that it has come time to flee. With the jewels sewn into their corsets, they end up in Paris on the grounds of a church surrounded by thieves, starvation, and the fear of being hunted by those who would see them executed. Svetlana doesn’t trust anyone. Raised in the aristocracy of Russia and having everything torn away from her, she can be as cold as ice. All she wants is safety. Dr. Wynn MacCallan is a surgeon ahead of his time. He tries to open the eyes of the medical community to new and lifesaving ideas. His entire life is devoted to helping everyone, no matter their station. His whole world is turned upside down when he meets the beautiful, Svetlana. Despite her reluctance, it is clear that she needs his help. Or maybe they just need each other!
I thought this was going to be a breezy romance novel that would just occupy a few hours of my time. Instead, this book occupied my entire weekend with its dazzling descriptions and amazing characters. This novel discusses the hardships endured in life but also the hope that is often unseen around the bend. Svetlana and her family are used to a life of privilege and wealth until it is suddenly taken away. Svetlana’s mother in particular has a difficult time not being a part of the nobility anymore, not understanding that their overabundance of wealth and the extreme poverty of others snowballed into events that led to their destruction. One of my favorite aspects of this novel is how Svetlana learns what it means to be a citizen and put others before herself. She wants her legacy to be one of giving. Then there is Wynn. He is what one would call the ideal book boyfriend. He is devoted to healing, being there for others, and he can charm anyone, including the Ice Swan. And I have to say, I absolutely adored Leonid and if there are more books in this series, I want to see more of him.
The book has amazing descriptions of the historical events that take place from 1917 and on. I felt the fear and urgency. When Svetlana remembered her past life, I felt as if I was in the palaces of Russia. It all perfectly comes together with the romance of Svetlana and Wynn. Readers will find themselves rooting for them and their happiness. I absolutely adored this book and hope there are more in the future! I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars!