The Golden Lynx
Historical romance isn’t my favorite genre, but when a friend and sister Russianist recommended “The Golden Lynx” as being a romance that was also a historically accurate depiction of 16th-century Russia, I knew I had to check it out.
And indeed, the descriptions of life amongst the Tatars and boyars of that era are superb. It isn’t my area of expertise, but I know enough to recognize that it is painstakingly researched and written from a breadth and depth of knowledge that surpasses my own. Normally when I read books set in Russia or some Russian-esque society, I spend a lot of time rolling my eyes at the author’s ill-advised attempts to show off their superficial knowledge, which rather ruins the book for me. In this case, though, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the running of the households in Kasimov and Moscow, and all the little historical details the author throws in.
This is not, however, a dense book. In many ways it reads like conventional historical romance, which is either its biggest weakness or biggest strength, depending on how you feel about that sort of thing. If you hunger for stories of young women unexpectedly finding love in marriages of convenience, despite their ungirlish, uppity, “feminist” behavior (which in no way causes them gain true temporal power), then this is yet another of those stories for you. This is an extremely popular plot, and for good reason, but I’ve never really warmed to it. However, true fans of romance novels will probably love it. And I have to give major props to the author for creating a Muslim Tatar heroine, which is a first for my reading experience. Furthermore, the heroine’s ethnicity and faith are worked organically into the plot, rather than seeming like a cheap, superficial ploy.
In fact, the construction of the book is top-notch overall. The multi-faceted plot is deftly done, with multiple points of view interwoven to best heighten the tension, and the romantic, political, and family plot lines all coming together in a tense denouement. A real page-turner, and will probably delight readers of historical romance as well as readers looking for some lighter “Russian-flavored” fare.
Buy link: Amazon