Author: Eugene Yelchin
Publication: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (June 14, 2016)
Description: A long undisturbed bedroom. A startling likeness. A mysterious friend.
When twelve-year-old Prince Lev Lvov goes to live with his aunt at Falcon House, he takes his rightful place as heir to the Lvov family estate. Prince Lev dreams of becoming a hero of Russia like his great ancestors. But he'll discover that dark secrets haunt this house. Prince Lev is the only one who can set them free-will he be the hero his family needs?
My Thoughts: This was a mildly spooky middle grade story about a young boy who comes to live with his aunt in Falcon House. The year is 1891. He is Prince Lev Lvov and will one day inherit the house. The house is in disrepair and his aunt is kind of creepy. She is an old woman in a wheel chair who is constantly abusing her servants. She has an agenda for Lev to follow.
Lev is shown to his grandfather's study which is to be his room. His aunt greatly admires her father and is eager to keep to his outdated rules for living. One of the first people Lev meets is a frightened young boy named Vanyousha. Vanyousha used to have a gift for art but has lost it. Coincidentally, Lev has a gift for drawing. It is something that he did with his mother when they were at home. Vanyousha asks Lev to draw pretty things to remind him of his home but Lev find himself drawing his grandfather's study.
The whole story is framed as being based on scraps of paper that the author found when he was a boy in Russia. Instead of recycling them, he saved them. When he came to the United states, the papers and drawings came with him. Many years later he was encouraged to translate them and tell Lev's story which he does - complete with footnotes.
Fans of historical fiction and fans of creepy stories would be the best audience for this story.
"My village is beyond the river," said Vanyousha. "Can you see it?"I got this ARC from Macmillan. You can buy your copy here.
I looked in the direction he was pointing, but past the river was just blackness.