A Simple Soul

Fiction - General
406 Pages
Reviewed on 06/10/2013
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite

It has been quite some time since Elizaveta parted with Timofey, but the lovely Muscovite will later learn that her path will cross his in a series of dangerous events manipulated by her former lover. The novel begins with Elizaveta making her way to work; upon arriving she is greeted with a bouquet addressed to her and no one knows who had sent it. More calls and gifts come her way from an anonymous source who later reveals himself to be Timofey. Her former lover has caught the eye of the local mafia boss’s daughter, and refusal would mean retribution. To escape this predicament, Timofey sets up a fake marriage involving Elizaveta, who falls into traps set by Timofey. For Elizaveta, the possibilities are overwhelming.

Once again, award-winning author Vadim Babenko has come up with a masterpiece that will take suspense novel lovers into a thrilling ride. Babenko takes his time to allow readers to get acquainted well with the characters in vivid descriptions, subtly revealing details in a smooth flow, so that it is hard not to keep following them through the situations they find themselves in. Elizaveta, having had far too many unsatisfying relationships in the past, struggles to understand the romance being rekindled, and all this in the face of danger. One can only imagine the roller-coaster of emotions the character undergoes. The book has been crafted in the riveting style of prose that is truly Babenko’s. All readers must reserve a spot on their shelf for the novel “A Simple Soul”. A very entertaining read!

Danita Dyess

In the book “A Simple Soul” by Vadim Babenko nothing appears as it seems. Set in Moscow, a young, attractive blond woman, Elizaveta Bestuzheva, is educated, independent and content with her above average salary at the travel agency. Ostensibly, she is in control of her life. She freely admits that she has power over the myriad of men she uses for sex. Indeed, a caring and obedient lover is an annoyance. So, what happens next is a testament to karma. The relationship that she abruptly ended from her injured boyfriend’s, Timorey, hospital bedside, has come back to haunt her. It’s been seven years and Timorey, has become a skilled, ruthless manipulator who needs a pawn for his game. This time, Elizaveta will be mired in someone else’s complex web of manipulation.

The cover is unassuming for this exceptional work of fiction. This book started slowly but things quickly escalated. Babenko is a talented writer who has mastered pace, plot and character development. He has a signature style that reflects precise diction and sharp images. His characters – Maya, Nikolai, Dimon -- have deep issues – fixations, penchants and overcompensations. These human qualities are relatable and resonate with the reader. The author has been nominated for literary awards and has received impressive offers from Russian publishers. He also co-founded InforMax, a high-tech company 20 years ago in the U.S. Babenko also wrote “Semmant” and “The Black Pelican.” “A Simple Soul” is highly recommended.

Anne Boling

The setting for “A Simple Soul,” written by Vadim Babenko, is Moscow. Timofey Tsarkov found himself in a bind. He’d saved the life of a stranger. When the man insisted on taking Timofey under his wing, Timofey used the situation to his advantage. Through his mentor, Timofey gained connections and wealth that he could use to gain revenge against those he felt had wronged him many years before. His mentor’s daughter was determined to marry Timofey; he knew that to refuse could mean his own death since you never want to offend a man connected to the mafia. His solution was to marry a woman from his past. He hires a private investigator to follow Elizaveta Andreyevna Bestuzhevathen, a former lover. Suddenly she begins receiving flowers but does not know who they are from; someone is following her. She sees warnings and senses danger all around her. When she receives a romantic letter from Timofey, she agrees to meet with him. This is her chance for revenge; seven years previously he had broken her heart. Both Timofey and Elizaveta have an agenda.

“A Simple Soul” was recently translated into English. This book is not what most Americans are used to for there is very little dialogue. Most of the story is told from the point of view of the narrator. I prefer more dialog but that did not distract from my reading pleasure. The characters in “A Simple Soul” have depth and are easy to connect to. This book has over 400 pages which seemed daunting when I first began reading it; however, I never lost interest. Fans of high action and comedy will enjoy “A Simple Soul.”

Kathryn Bennett

"A Simple Soul" by Vadim Babenko takes us into the romantic journey that at its heart becomes a struggle for survival. Elizaveta is a beautiful Muscovite who finds some strange things that start to happen: strange calls from an unknown person, flowers and lovely gifts. It turns out that it is her former lover Timofey who now lives far away and has himself in his own hot water when a daughter of a local Mafia boss wants to marry him. You cannot simply say no to a Mob Boss's daughter, can you? So he decides to stage a sham marriage to Elizaveta.

This is one of those books that seem to have a little bit of something for everyone in it. There are romance, criminal elements and various schemes. I for one enjoy books that are layered and could be considered to be more then one genre because of the content, and Vadim Babenko has very successfully done that. Elizaveta was my favorite character in the book and although I have never gone on the same kind of journey that she did I felt I could identify with the struggle she had to hold on to. The writing is well done and the good narrative creates vivid pictures so that you can picture what the pair is going through with each step. I read this one from cover to cover in one sitting without wanting to be disturbed for anything, so I would recommend it for any reader who enjoys a good story with a lot happening, and twists that end in a path you did not expect.