The House of Special Purpose: A Review

John Boyne's The House of Special Purpose

Title:  The House of  Special Purpose
Author:  John Boyne
Published:  May 7, 2009
Publishing Company:  Other Press
Page Count:  469

Summary via Goodreads
Part love story, part historical epic, part tragedy, The House of Special Purpose illuminates an empire at the end of its reign. Eighty-year-old Georgy Jachmenev is haunted by his past—a past of death, suffering, and scandal that will stay with him until the end of his days. Living in England with his beloved wife, Zoya, Georgy prepares to make one final journey back to the Russia he once knew and loved, the Russia that both destroyed and defined him. As Georgy remembers days gone by, we are transported to St. Petersburg, to the Winter Palace of the czar, in the early twentieth century—a time of change, threat, and bloody revolution. As Georgy overturns the most painful stone of all, we uncover the story of the house of special purpose

My Thoughts
This is the first book of Boyne's that I've ever read and I absolutely loved it from the time I opened the front cover to the time I closed it.  The story of Georgy and Zoya is beautiful and heartbreaking.  Told from the perspective of Georgy, the reader follows his life story from the time he is a teenager in rural Russia until his old age in England.  The journey that he takes the reader on is set against the backdrop of the Romanov family and the Russian Revolution, tying history and imagination together rather seamlessly.  As you venture further into the novel, secrets are alluded to and slowly revealed about both Georgy and Zoya.  Told in an alternating style of past and present, where the chapters in the past slowly move forward in time and the chapters from the present slowly move back until they meet in the middle near the end of the book, there is such suspense that you never want to put the book down.  And when you learn exactly what the house of special purpose is, everything you believed and thought makes sense.  If you're looking for a great historical novel, pick this one up!

Five super big stars!  I recommend this book so much!

What are some of your favorite books set in Russia?

Happy reading!


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