The Bookseller

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
438 Pages
Reviewed on 10/19/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Bookseller is a work of fiction in the historical, cultural, and interpersonal drama subgenres. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience and was penned by author Nikolai Gordonovich. In this gripping drama with much to say about Russia and the Cold War, we experience a myriad of emotions from betrayal and grief to the joys of love and fond memories. The story follows John, a middle-aged man mourning the loss of his father from an early age. But when he discovers a connection from his father to a mysterious figure known as H from the time of the Cold War, so begins a quest to trace back through his father’s involvement in the Soviet Union and become closer to the man he never truly knew.

Author Nikolai Gordonovich has crafted a totally gripping family drama with plenty of fascinating emotional and historical content, and I for one was hooked by this enthralling tale from cover to cover. The key point of triumph for me in terms of the author’s storytelling ability is in the pace and plotting, as Gordonovich brings past and present to the fore, hand-in-hand, with each moment relating back to the central theme of mourning and loss. The historical research that the book is based on is also evident and accomplished, but the facts of history are set aside to always make the characters and their emotional storyline the central focus of the piece, and I appreciated that connection to family and emotion a lot. Overall, I would certainly recommend The Bookseller to fans of historical fiction and contemporary family drama alike.

William Hyde

This excellent book is both a Cold War love story and a gripping modern tragedy, that genuinely had me in tears at several point. The book is two stories woven together, John's s discovery of his father's stamp albums in the present day, which is written in the first person, and his father's own story which starts just after the Siege of Leningrad in WW2. It's an unusual format but you soon get into it. Slowly, the two stories come together, and the pace heats up as it builds to a shattering conclusion.

Nikolai's novel is rich in historical detail and presents a surprisingly warm and colourful view of the Soviet Union as most of us have never seen it. A joy to read.