Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Gorgito’s Ice-Rink by @ElizabethDucie

Today’s team review comes from Noelle, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Noelle chose to read and review Gorgito’s Ice-Rink by Elizabeth Ducie


Book Review: Gorgito’s Ice Rink by Elizabeth Ducie

Gorgito’s Ice Rink is at its core a family saga, set largely in Russia and alternating in time between the mid to late 1990’s and the post-WW II era in 1949. It derives from the author’s travel experiences and her background in helping writers set up and run their small businesses. The story develops from the loss of their sisters by two small boys, one in the 1990s and another in 1949.

Emma Chambers meets the larger-than-life Georgian, Gorgito Tabatadze, when she takes over for another in her company in order to get Gorgito’s factory up and running in the picturesque town of Nikolevsky, Russia, in 1995. She discovers, while watching figure skaters on the River Volga that Gorgito wants to build an ice rink for the most talented of them, Yulia Semenova, to draw people to his town. Having had a Russian Grandmother, Emma speaks the language and fits well into the community. When Yulia is lured to the US to train, leaving her little brother Dima behind, Gorgito becomes even more determined to fulfill his plan, in order to bring Yulia home. Gorgito himself lost his sister, Maria, who left home without telling anyone where she was going. She was following the love of her life, an older soldier she’d met in her tiny rural town, to Moscow. She disappears from Gorgito’s life and he cannot find her in the vast spaces of Russia and with the Communist regulations of the time.

The first part of the book is written in third person omniscient. I think because of this, the reader never makes the emotional connection with Emma that is made in the second part of the book with Maria. Maria’s story is told in first person, and because of that, this part of the book came alive and spoke to me.

In part three, Emma returns to Nikolevsky, despite the fact her first job there was over; she discovers her husband has had an extended affair with their next door neighbor during her long absence and realizes she has no strong ties to what was her home. Gorgito enlists her to help him run his factory and run interference with the local Mayor, who has very personal reasons for blocking the construction of the ice rink. Can Emma and Gorgito overcome bureaucracy, corruption, economic melt-down and the harsh Russian climate to get the ice-rink built and bring home a lost sister?

The strength of this book is in its characters and the accurate descriptions of life in Russia. Gorgito himself is a scene stealer, with all his foibles and love for life. Victor Romanovitch, the Mayor, undergoes a transformation as the story progresses, as the reader learns more about him and Maria. Maria, is colorful, if foolish, but loyal and deeply in love with Alexander Rastinov, who reminds me of the character Ashley Wilkes in Gone with the Wind: bookish, loyal and proud, but deeply caring of his family.

The Russian background comes through loud and clear, the English background much less so. Having lived in a Soviet satellite during the Cold War, I found the author’s descriptions of life in Russia to be spot on – politics, regulations, food, deprivations, and the spirit of the people.

Gorgito’s Ice Rink is a leisurely read that gradually draws the reader into the saga. It is informative to readers not familiar with that time and place, and while emotionally understated, is a lovely story.

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Moscow Bound By Adrian Churchward

Moscow BoundMoscow Bound by Adrian Churchward

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Moscow bound is a mystery set in and around Moscow in 2013. It begins with a murder of a lone man. The rest of the tale is spread over a time period of just over a week, filled with plenty of action. We meet Scott Mitchell, a human rights lawyer who has just won a case in the European courts against the Russian military.

Scott bravely returns to Moscow where he works, but he’s upset a powerful enemy and his return to Russia is not an easy one. The publicity he has gained sends a new client to him. Ekaterina Romanova is searching for her father who has been held captive without trial for many years. She only has one thread of a trail to start their search but when they get caught on camera at the scene of a crime more than one set of people want to know more about them.

Is Ekaterina telling Scott the truth? What is she not telling him? Why is General Pravda interested in their search and just who can you trust in a country which often shoots first and asks questions later? As the Russian people embrace some of their newer freedom, the old men who ruled with iron fists are dying off, but fighting within still exists and will anyone in Russia ever learn to trust again? There are many twists and turns in the book which kept me glued to the pages to find out just who or what is drawn Moscow Bound.

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Find out more about Adrian and his book in this post from our Mystery November book tour.

Mystery Tour Day 14 #MysteryNovember Moscow Bound by Adrian Churchward

November Mystery Tour

Today’s guest and book on the Mystery Book Tour is Moscow Bound by Adrian Churchward.


Where is your home town?

London UK. My apartment overlooks the River Thames, with the O2 Arena in the near distance.

How long have you been writing?

On and off for 15 years

What is your favourite sub-genre of mystery?

I am concerned with the ever-growing abuses of power committed by politicians and the “power elite”, so I am trying to reveal the extent to which these people will go to pursue their agendas – lawful or unlawful. Scott Mitchell, my fictionalised idealistic human rights lawyer, is the messenger.

Where is Moscow Bound set?

Primarily in Moscow, but with scenes in Suzdal (about 220km north east of the capital) and Sarov/Arzamas (about 515km east of the capital)

Can you introduce us to Ekaterina Romanova?

Ekaterina is the beautiful 30-something estranged wife of Russia’s richest oligarch, who is 25+ years her senior. But she is no “trophy bimbo”. She has two economics degrees, is ice cool, assertive and doesn’t tolerate fools.

Tell us about the character of General Pravda

General Pravda of Russian military intelligence (GRU) is fiercely devoted to his Motherland, though he realises that things must change in the way Russia treats its people, if it is to become a transparent and more civilised society.

Can you tempt us with hints at what Ekaterina and Scott must run from?

I don’t want to spoil it for new readers, but the pair discover a brutally murdered body while searching for Ekaterina’s father. Scott is convinced that they will be arrested for the crime, so they decide to get out of Moscow for a while.

Scott is a human rights lawyer, why do his beliefs change during his search for Ekaterina’s father?

He is idealistic, just turned 30 and believes that most issues are “black and white”; especially after winning his Strasburg Court case against the Russian government for Chechen war crimes. However, his adventures with Ekaterina and General Pravda persuade him that geopolitical matters aren’t so clear cut after all, and even the people he seeks to protect may not share his views on human rights.

Tell us what you are working on at the moment.

Apart from working “25” hours a day trying to promote Moscow Bound, I am writing the second novel of the Puppet Meisters Trilogy. It brings Scott back to London and immerses him in even more Machiavellian dealings by our Puppet Meisters than he was subjected to in Russia. Again, it is fact mixed with fiction.

Where can readers find out more about you?


My social media links are as follows;

You can find reviews on:–e-books.html (Book Reader’s Heaven)

Readers can catch up with my own review of Moscow Bound here on the blog tomorrow.

Rosie’s Avid Readers #RBRT Tolstoy by Rosamund Bartlett

Rosie's Avid Readers
Rosie’s Avid readers are people who like reading and have a book to tell us about, they are the voice of a friend who says ” I just read this book….”
Avid Reader’s thoughts
Leo Tolstoy is renowned for his writing ‘War and Peace’ and ‘Anna Karenina’ both world classics. The book ‘Tolstoy’ by Rosamund Bartlett tells the story of his life and background in Russia  between 1828 – 1910. He travelled extensively in Russia and Western Europe. He became a teacher, a soldier fighting in the Crimea War, a critic of conventual ways of life and government and friend of the peasantry. A hugh tome packed with information and interest.
Book Description
In November 1910, Count Lev Tolstoy died at a remote Russian railway station. At the time of his death, he was the most famous man in Russia, with a growing international following, and more revered than the tsar. Born into an aristocratic family, Tolstoy had spent his life rebelling not only against conventional ideas about literature and art but also against traditional education, family life, organized religion, and the state. In this exceptional biography, Rosamund Bartlett draws extensively on key Russian sources, including much fascinating new material made available since the collapse of the Soviet Union. She sheds light on Tolstoy’s remarkable journey from callow youth to writer to prophet; discusses his troubled relationship with his wife, Sonya, a subject long neglected; and vividly evokes the Russian landscapes Tolstoy so loved. Above all, she gives us an eloquent portrait of the brilliant, maddening, and contrary man who has, once again, been discovered by a new generation of readers.
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Completed The Concubine’s Secret by Kate Furnivall

The Concubine's SecretThe Concubine’s Secret by Kate Furnivall

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A deep inside tale of Communism inside Russia, twisted around a tale of a brother and sister searching for their father who was taken away by the authorities. There is an interesting link with the rise of Communism in China. Lots of details about the daily lives of people as their lives change under the new regimes.

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The Concubine’s Secret by Kate Furnivall

I’m on page 353 out of 515 pages of this book. It looks at Communism across Russia during the 1930’s and the Communism rising in China at the same time. Amongst the harsh conditions, the poverty, the suffering and the changes in the way the people must think, there is romance. The story looks at the early principles of Communism and how it’s leaders hoped to make change, and compared them to the reality that the masses endured. It is a shocking and eye-opening book full of sights, sounds and atmosphere of the time.