The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne

The House of Special Purpose

John Boyne

Zoya and Georgy escape from revolutionary Russia and try to forge a new life for themselves in war torn Europe, but will they ever be free from the pain and secrets of the past? A beautifully realised portrait of the Romanov dynasty and the enduring nature of love. As light as chocolate mousse with a satisfyingly rich flavour.


My daughter had given me a snow globe, its base no bigger than the palm of my hand, a white plastic dome with a glass hemisphere constructed on top. At its centre stood an awkward model of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, its frontage a dark blue where it should have been pale green, the roof statues nowhere to be seen, the Alexander column missing from the square in front; but despite its deficiencies, the building was unmistakable to my eyes. Indeed it would have been immmediately recognizable to anyone who had ever lived or worked within its gilded walls. I held my breath as I stared at it, as if worried that to breathe on it might cause its collapse, and narrowed my eyes to examine the small white grooves that represented the windows of the three floored palace. And the memories flooded back.

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