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Angel on the Square by Gloria Whelan

Angel on the Square (original 2001; edition 2002)

by Gloria Whelan (Author)

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6041224,435 (3.86)14
Title:Angel on the Square
Authors:Gloria Whelan (Author)
Info:Scholastic (2002), Edition: 1st, 293 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:historical fiction, RUSSIA, russian

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Angel on the Square by Gloria Whelan (2001)


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» See also 14 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
I loved the historical accurateness of the book. It made me remember when I saw Nicholas and Alexandria in the theater. Such a brutal death but they did avoid the detail in the book. ( )
  jothebookgirl | Jan 3, 2017 |
Well. It was interesting learning about the years immediately preceding Lenin - I never heard of Kerensky and will investigate wikipedia et al a bit. Probably a good book for young fans of historical fiction, but I'm neither, so though I'm glad I read it, I'm glad it's over. Um, specifically, it was exhausting to read of all the struggles, and the characters never fully resonated with me, but all the details of life, culture, and history were fascinating and not boggy.

ETA - upon further investigation, it appears there's a lot to the story that Whelan left out. Ok, sure, the narrator is a sheltered child and consequently unreliable, but the political situation was a lot more complex than portrayed here. If you read this, do read further. In fact, if you have already something to recommend, (that's accessible to the same young audience, age 9-14 or so), please comment! ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
As a member of the Russian aristocracy, 12-year-old Katya lives in splendor with her mother, and 16-year-old adopted “cousin,” Misha, in a mansion in downtown St. Petersburg. 1914 Russia is on the brink of both World War I and a revolution, but everything seems fine in Katya’s world. In fact, her mother is invited to be Empress Alexandra’s lady-in-waiting and Katya is to be friends with the grand duchess Anastasia.

Set in a country ready to fall apart, the book spans five years, giving the reader a clear idea of the events that precipitated the tragic time in Russian history. Whelan does a remarkable job of showing Katya’s slow awakening from a pampered and naïve aristocrat to a worldly young woman. Readers are also able to get a glimpse of World War I through reports of Misha, who is drafted into the war, and also get to witness the notoriously insular Tsar and his family.

Like with many of Whelan’s books, Angel on the Square does a marvelous job of merging a mostly truthful look into the past with an intriguing storyline and characters. Because the book spans so long, you’ll feel as though you know the characters by the end, and will probably be delighted to know that Whelan continues with them for another two books. Highly recommended. Grades 7 and up. ( )
  krmajor | Dec 7, 2014 |
The book tells the story of Katya, daughter to a fictional lady-in-waiting to Empress Alexandra of Russia, during the turbulent days leading up to the Bolshevik Revolution. Katya and her mother remain with the family until they are removed to Ykaterinburg, at which point they flee to their country estate.

I think this would be a good introduction to Russian history for young teens who don't already know all of the gristly details of the end of the Romanov family -- for those who do, I'm not sure it's such a satisfying read. I felt that Katya, the main character, was not as dynamic as she could have been. Neither her character growth nor her romantic interest felt very compelling to me, but perhaps I would have felt differently if I had been reading, rather than listening to the audio version of the story. ( )
  foggidawn | Feb 28, 2012 |
Engaging historical fiction set just before and during the Russian Revolution from the point of view of an aristocratic girl who knew the grand duchesses. The book focuses on her realization that her entire world is changing, and how her cousin is sympathetic to the revolutionary cause. It's the first in a series of four books set in St. Petersburg. ( )
  Jmmott | Dec 7, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2001 (Vol. 69, No. 12))
A young Russian aristocrat comes of age during the Great War and the Russian Revolution. In 1913, 13-year-old Katya's life is good: she is about to join the Tsar's household with her Mama, who has just been appointed Lady-in-Waiting to the Empress. Her best friend and foster brother Misha, a young intellectual with revolutionary leanings, cannot dampen her enthusiasm with his talk of the people's privations and dire predictions of war, but over the course of the next five years, Katya witnesses the outbreak of war and both revolutions, and is eventually reduced to the life of a peasant. Trying to encapsulate this particular sweep of history in 300 pages is no easy task, and Whelan ("Homeless Bird", 2000, etc.) clearly struggles with the challenge of establishing sympathy for the Tsar's family while at the same time allowing her protagonist to understand the depths of the social injustice that ultimately brings about her downfall. This results in a character who ultimately observes but never acts. When the royal family heads to the army's headquarters, they do so in luxuriously appointed railroad cars; on the same train, soldiers travel to the front in empty boxcars. Katya is "embarrassed by our show of luxury. I wondered what the soldiers thought of us as they watched us climb into our comfortable quarters, trailed by servants and piles of luggage." While this is possibly psychologically consistent and clearly serves a narrative purpose, it is unsatisfying. Still, the novel serves as an introduction, if inevitably oversimplified and largely devoid of political discussion, to a complicated and important period in world history, and from a perspective that will naturally appeal to kids whose exposure to the events is from animated videos. (glossary) 2001, HarperCollins, $15.95. Category: Fiction. Ages 10 to 15. © 2001
added by kthomp25 | editKirkus (Apr 25, 2010)
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for Pat and Gus
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I could feel the crowd holding its breath, awaiting the moment when Tsar Nikolai II and Empress Alexandra would arrive.
We kicked off our shoes and danced about on our tiptoes, humming the music.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0064408795, Paperback)

From the author of the 2000 National Book Award winner, Homeless Bird, comes an evocative glimpse into a chilling period in world history. Gloria Whelan manages to take the fly-on-the-wall approach one step further in her latest piece of historical fiction. In Angel on the Square, a young girl joins Russian Tsar Nikolai II, Empress Alexandra, and their children when her mother becomes one of the empress's ladies-in-waiting. Katya Ivanova, as companion to the Romanov children, has an insider's view of the crumbling of tsarist Russia from 1913 to 1918. Initially, life is lavish and amusing for this young aristocrat, although her friend Misha's revolutionary ideas often battle in her mind with her own loyalty to the tsar. Gradually, though, the world outside begins to enter the palace walls, and Katya's life--along with that of all nobility--changes forever.

Whelan's balanced treatment of both sides of the Russian revolution is remarkably accessible. Katya is an appealing protagonist; readers will hang on her every word as she is transformed from a spoiled, sheltered child into a caring, hard-working adult. Young readers couldn't ask for a better introduction to this terrifying, earthshaking epoch in history. (Ages 10 and older) --Emilie Coulter

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:35 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In 1913 Russia, twelve-year-old Katya eagerly anticipates leaving her St. Petersburg home, though not her older cousin Misha, to join her mother, a lady in waiting in the household of Tsar Nicholas II, but the ensuing years bring world war, revolution, and undreamed of changes to her life.… (more)

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