The bestselling author of "The Madonnas of Leningrad" returns with a breathtaking novel of love, madness, and devotion set against the extravagant royal court of eighteenth-century St. Petersburg.
Born to a Russian family of lower nobility, Xenia, an eccentric dreamer who cares little for social conventions, falls in love with Andrei, a charismatic soldier and singer in the Empress's Imperial choir. Though husband and wife adore each other, their happiness is overshadowed by the absurd demands of life at the royal court and by Xenia's growing obsession with having a child--a desperate need that is at last fulfilled with the birth of her daughter. But then a tragic vision comes true, and a shattered Xenia descends into grief, undergoing a profound transformation that alters the course of her life. Turning away from family and friends, she begins giving all her money and possessions to the poor. Then, one day, she mysteriously vanishes.
Years later, dressed in the tatters of her husband's military uniform and answering only to his name, Xenia is discovered tending the paupers of St. Petersburg's slums. Revered as a soothsayer and a blessed healer to the downtrodden, she is feared by the royal court and its new Empress, Catherine, who perceives her deeds as a rebuke to their lavish excesses. In this evocative and elegantly written tale, Dean reimagines the intriguing life of Xenia of St. Petersburg, a patron saint of her city and one of Russia's most mysterious and beloved holy figures. This is an exploration of the blessings of loyal friendship, the limits of reason, and the true costs of loving deeply.
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“In her excellent second novel, THE MIRRORED WORLD, Debra Dean has composed a resonant and compelling tale. . . . Dean’s writing is superb; she uses imagery natural to the story and an earlier time.” (Seattle Times)
“For those familiar with the story of St. Xenia, this is a gratifying take on a compelling woman. For others, Dean’s vivid prose and deft pacing make for a quick and entertaining read.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Love affairs, rivalries, intrigues, prophecy, cross-dressing, madness, sorrow, poverty—THE MIRRORED WORLD is a litany of both the homely and the miraculous. Intimate and richly appointed, Debra Dean’s Imperial St. Petersburg is as sumptuous and enchanted as the Winter Palace.” (Stewart O’Nan, bestselling author of Last Night at the Lobster)
“THE MIRRORED WORLD explores the mysteries of love and grief and devotion. Against a vivid backdrop of eighteenth century St. Petersburg and Catherine the Great’s royal court, the woman who would become St. Xenia is brought fully to life. Is there a more imaginative, elegant storyteller than Debra Dean?” (Ann Hood, bestselling author of The Knitting Circle)
“With evocative, rich prose and deep emotional resonance, Debra Dean delivers a compelling and captivating story that touches the soul. Truly a wonderful read.” (Garth Stein, bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain)
“Transporting readers to St. Petersburg during the reign of Catherine the Great, Dean brilliantly reconstructs and reimagines the life of St. Xenia, one of Russia’s most revered and mysterious holy figures, in a richly told and thought-provoking work of historical fiction.” (Bookreporter.com)
“Dean’s novel grows more profound and affecting with every page.” (Booklist)
“In Debra Dean’s skilled hands, history comes alive. . . . Though the world she creates is harsh and cold at times, it is the warmth at its center— the power of love — that stays with you in the end.” (Miami Herald)
A native of Seattle, Debra Dean worked as an actor in New York for nearly a decade before becoming a writer. She lives in Miami and teaches in the creative writing program at Florida International University.
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Book Description Harper. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0062218557 Harper paperback. Bookseller Inventory # SKU1101227
Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: New. Not Signed; The critically acclaimed author of The Madonnas of Leningrad ( Elegant and poetic, the rare kind of book that you want to keep but you have to share -Isabel Allende), Debra Dean returns with The Mirrored World, a breathtaking novel of love and madness set in 18th century Russia. Transporting readers to St. Petersburg during the reign of Catherine the Great, Dean brilliantly reconstructs and reimagines the life of St. Xenia, one of Russia's most revered and mysterious holy figures, in a richly told and thought-provoking work of historical fiction that recounts the unlikely transformation of a young girl, a child of privilege, into a saint beloved by the poor. book. Bookseller Inventory # ria9780062218551_rkm
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, The Mirrored World: A Novel, Debra Dean, The bestselling author of the critically acclaimed The Madonnas of Leningrad, returns with a breathtaking historical novel, set against the unparalleled extravagance and artifice of the royal court in eighteenth century St. Petersburg. Bookseller Inventory # B9780062218551
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Book Description Harper, 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0062218557