Two small boys grieving for lost sisters — torn between family and other loves. Can keeping a new promise make up for breaking an old one?
When Gorgito Tabatadze sees his sister run off with a soldier, he is bereft. When she disappears into Stalin’s Gulag system, he is devastated. He promises their mother on her death-bed he will find the missing girl and bring her home; but it is to prove an impossible quest.
Forty years later, Gorgito, now a successful businessman in post-Soviet Russia, watches another young boy lose his sister to a love stronger than family. When a talented Russian skater gets the chance to train in America, Gorgito promises her grief-stricken brother he will build an ice-rink in Nikolevsky, their home town, to bring her home again.
With the help of a British engineer, who has fled to Russia to escape her own heartache, and hindered by the local Mayor who has his own reasons for wanting the project to fail, can Gorgito overcome bureaucracy, corruption, economic melt-down and the harsh Russian climate in his quest to build the ice-rink and bring a lost sister home? And will he finally forgive himself for breaking the promise to his mother?
A story of love, loss and broken promises. Gorgito’s story, told through the eyes of the people whose lives he touched.
What I Thought:
An interesting read today with Gorgito’s Ice Rink by Elizabeth Ducie. Set in post-communist Russia, this dual time novel highlights a larger-than-life figure, striving to prevent his story repeating itself.
The modern section of the novel shows the bureaucracy and corruption of Russia in the post communist era, with British engineers helping to build a solid economy – without much help from local government! At the centre of these efforts stands Gorgito, whose bluff and jolly exterior hides a personal agony and what he views as his failure.
This failure we later learn, is returning his sister, Maria, to their Georgian village after she falls in love with a visiting soldier.
Set in the post-war period, Maria’s story gives us a perspective on the height of the communist era in Russia and the suffering of many groups, including political prisoners, the Jewish population and everyday, ordinary Russians. It really highlights that the chances of being shipped to a prison camp were really quite high, even if you had done nothing wrong and touches on the conditions in these places.
I felt quite invested in Maria’s story – more so I’d have to say than the more modern sections, and I would have loved to read more about her, and this time in Russian history. I suppose that is because I am more of a history buff, and it’s certainly not to say that any parts of the book are bad.
At the time of writing this review, Gorgito’s Ice Rink is priced at only 99p on Kindle and, for what you get for your money, this is an absolute steal.
This post is part of a Blog Blitz to celebrate Gorgito’s Ice Rink and let everyone know that it’s now at a bargain price. There are lots of fab blogs taking part, so do be sure to check out the #GorgitosIceRink hashtag on Twitter…
Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.