The Official Book Blurb
Who is to Blame? is a historical saga of two families—one born of noble heritage and the other bound as serfs to the noble’s household. Set during the mid-1800s in the vast grainfields of Russia, Who Is to Blame? follows the lives of two star-crossed serfs, Elizaveta and Feodor, torn apart by their own families and the Church while simultaneously trapped in the inhumane life of poverty to which they were born.
At the other end of the spectrum, Count Maximov and his family struggle to maintain harmony amidst a tapestry of deception and debauchery woven by the Count’s son. The plot twists further when the Tsar emancipates twenty million serfs from bondage as the rural gentry’s life of privilege and carelessness takes its final bow, and much of Russia’s nobility faces possible financial ruin.
The novel’s riddles flow subtly throughout, spurring readers to ponder where the blame actually lies. In the end, we must tap into our own hearts to navigate the depths and quandaries of the author’s perplexing question.
Who Is to Blame tells the story of the serfs and the nobles in Russia during the mid to late 1800’s and all the changes taking place during this time. For the serfs the story is told mainly about Elizaveta and for the nobles it concentrates on the Maximov family who own the land that Elizaveta and her family work on.
Through Elizaveta’s story you get to see how the women of that time were expected to work hard but had no say in what they did and were totally at the mercy of the men in the village. Due to laws and beliefs she was not able to marry her one true love but instead was forced to marry an abusive man whom she hated once she became of age. You learnt of the beating she took when she did not follow his orders but despite this she loved all her children. She never forgot her first love despite them both being married to other people and towards the end of the book there were hints that they might one day be together however you dont get to find out if this happens before the story ends.
For the Maximovs you saw how the Count struggled with dealing with a wife who never got over the loss of a child and how he did not get on with his eldest son. The constant struggles with running his estate and the serfs he controlled, coupled with the changing political climate eventually took their toll on his health and towards the end of the story it was more about the eldest son Anton and how he conducted his life.
This book was a change from the usual genre that I tend to read but I have always been interested in history. To start with due to the subect it took me a while to get into the story but I found this book a fascinating read and it was interesting to learn about that period of time where ultimately the ruling classes had the final say in what the serfs could and could not do. Even when they were to be freed the nobles and government expected them to pay for land that they had worked for years. These payments would be expected to be taken on by their children and their grandchildren such was then length of time it would take to complete. I would love to find out more about Elizaveta and her story to see what happened next.
My thanks to NetGalley and publishers River Grove Books for the ARC of this novel. It is available to purchase from the following links: