If you like a bit of a mystery, a family saga, a smattering of Russian history and have always lusted after Faberge eggs, then this is a book for you.
Otaki author, Penelope Haines’ first novel is the story of Perdita; her name means the lost one, and her discovery of her family history through a convergence of strange events. Purdie as she is known, is a nurse in Wellington and her adoptive parents recently dead when she starts receiving anonymous gifts.
The books spans generations, from the flight of her great grandparents from revolutionary Russia, who were given a tin box, without a key, for safe keeping. We learn about the Russian revolution, flirt briefly with the Tsar’s officers, and onto life as a refugee in Poland before the family finally makes it to England after the Russian army sweeps into Poland.
Back and forth we travel across generations and as Grandmother Marguerite’s story unfolds Purdie makes the decision to go to London to meet her. All is not straightforward as Purdie is kidnapped by a Chinese gang at the airport. They demand the fabled Faberge eggs in return for her. Alas she has no idea what it is all about and she is yet to meet her grandmother.
The blurb on the back of a beautiful cover says’ Balanced between the past and the present, with history, intrigue and fabulous treasure, The Lost One unfolds one family’s legacy from Russia, Shanghai, London to New Zealand.’
And what part does the plain unopened tin box play in the saga and where is it?
The prologue hooked me in and I enjoyed the journey through time.
Available as an ebook or from PaperPlus.