Book Review: The Soviet Sisters

Anika Scott ~ The Soviet Sisters


Sisters Vera and Marya were brought up as good Soviets: obedient despite hardships of poverty and tragedy, committed to communist ideals, and loyal to Stalin. Several years after fighting on the Eastern front, both women find themselves deep in the mire of conflicts shaping a new world order in 1947 Berlin. When Marya, an interpreter, gets entangled in Vera’s cryptic web of deceit and betrayal, she must make desperate choices to survive—and protect those she loves.

Nine years later, Marya is a prisoner in a Siberian work camp when Vera, a doyenne of the KGB, has cause to reopen her case file and investigate the facts behind her sister’s conviction all those years ago in Berlin. As Vera retraces the steps that brought them both to that pivotal moment in 1947, she unravels unexpected truths and discoveries that call into question the very history the Soviets were working hard to cover up.


The period just after the Second World War isn’t one of which I’m particularly familiar. That said, I’ve read a few books about it this year to fill that gap and learned a lot.

The Soviet Sisters takes a slightly different approach, looking at two Russian sisters who find themselves in Berlin after the war. Is blood really thicker than water?

This book started off well, setting the scene nicely and drawing me in to the lives of the two sisters. Unfortunately it gradually lost my interest, as the language was extremely formal and the story overall was long-winded.

Both sisters are unreliable narrators and not very likeable. There are a lot of characters, different ‘evidence’ and accounts, which require a lot more attention than I’d like in a fictional book. My mind kept wandering and eventually I skim read the last few chapters.

It was interesting and well-researched, but somehow just didn’t capture my attention after the first quarter of the book. Perhaps it was the author’s intention, but the whole book feels like a formal write up of two people’s live; it was devoid of emotion and empathy, so I couldn’t relate. I also expected a big reveal to occur so found the ending disappointing.

Overall, it’s not a bad book, but reads more like a fact-filled autobiography than a work of fiction.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I received a copy of this book from Duckworth Books for Insta Book Tours. Opinions my own.

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