From reading Gabriella Saab’s brilliant debut novel The Last Checkmate, I was sure that the author would skilfully weave true historical figures and events with fiction in her new novel Daughters of Victory to create a powerfully absorbing read, and I was right. I love Daughters of Victory which is vividly written using a dual timeline, interlinking the Russian Revolution with the Nazi occupation of the Soviet Union. As well as being rich in historical detail, the new novel is an action packed thriller showcasing the unforgettable role women played in the fight for liberty and survival.
With all the drama, tension and action, I was completely consumed. In fact it was one of these books where I resented normal life getting in the way as I was so wrapped up in the exciting but dangerous world that Saab created.
From page one, I was hooked by the thrilling suspense depicted as the story opens with the attempted assignation of Lenin in 1918, and from then on the action and drama just builds and builds.
The story is juxtaposed between Russia during the turbulent revolution in 1917-18, and the Soviet Union during World War II when it was occupied by the Nazis. It centres around two women; Svetlana who was born into the Russian bourgeoisie but rebelled against her privileged upbringing to become a Socialist Revolutionary; and Mila, Svetlana’s granddaughter who is ignorant of her grandmother’s dangerous past and joins the local resistance when the Nazis invade, defying Svetlana’s wishes.
As well as gripping me – it is action packed, tense, emotive and at times a tad gruesome and bloody – I also learnt so much reading Daughter’s of Victory. Yes, it is pretty political and I did have to Google a few things whilst reading to help my understanding of Russia’s turbulent political history. But that’s one of the beauties of reading historic fiction – it educates me as well as captivates me.
Both Svetlana and Mila are inspired by real women in Russian history, as are other characters that play pivotal roles in the fictionalised account. As I was reading the novel I was itching to jump ahead to Gabriella Saab’s historical note at the end. However I am so glad I resisted the urge as it would have dented my thrill in reading the novel. When I did finally come to read the historical note once I had finished the novel I smiled at Gabriella’s opening paragraph. I then found the subsequent paragraphs so fascinating.
Believe me, as well as being a real page-turner, Daughters of Victory will make a fantastic serial drama or film. Both Svetlana and Mila are determined, passionate, kick-ass women! They are also very stubborn, which even though I found frustrating at times, I admired them for this. And to be frank, their stubbornness enhances the excitement within the pages, and further enhanced my thrill reading the book.
Daughters of Victory was released in paperback on 2 March 2023, so if you are looking for a great historic thriller, I suggest you grab a copy to read.
Thank you to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of the blog tour. To follow the tour and read the reviews from my fellow book bloggers, please see below.