Friday, September 10, 2021

#BookReview: Gone by Nightfall by Dee Garretson

Young Adult Historical

Author Links

A young woman is torn between her home and her dreams during the Russian Revolution.

It’s 1917, and Charlotte Mason is determined to make a life for herself in czarist Russia. When her mother dies, Charlotte is forced to put her plans to go to medical school aside to care for her unruly siblings. Then a handsome new tutor arrives. Charlotte has high hopes that he’ll stay, freeing her up to follow her dreams of becoming a doctor. But there’s more to Dmitri that meets the eye.

Just when she thinks she can get her life back, Russia descends into revolution and chaos. Now, not only does Charlotte need to leave Russia, she needs to get her siblings out too--and fast.

Can Charlotte flee Russia, keep her siblings safe, and uncover Dmitri’s many secrets before she runs out of time?
If you’ve come to my review in hopes of seeing a novel destroyed, you’ve come to the wrong place. I hate to disappoint, but I’ve no intention of trashing Dee Garretson’s GONE BY NIGHTFALL. As a younger reviewer, I’d have gladly mounted my soapbox to vent my frustrations like a screaming banshee, but ten years in this gig have cooled my sense of rage.

I came to this book wanting a meaty historical, something that captured the nuance of the Russian Revolution, and GONE BY NIGHTFALL is designed as more of a primer. The research is solidly presented, but it’s tempered for an audience less familiar with the material, a fact I probably should have expected in a genre designed for readers ages twelve to eighteen.

Now, I could blame Garretson for failing to meet expectations shaped by Gortner’s THE ROMANOV EMPRESS and Alexander’s RASPUTIN’S DAUGHTER, but I don’t feel that is a particularly fair comparison to make. I’m not saying adults can’t read and enjoy young adult fiction - the genre has produced some genuinely fantastic works - but these authors have to operate in parameters that don’t apply to the adult market, and that reality ofttimes prevents them from capturing the complexities that appeal to my tastes.

Garretson’s work is perfectly appropriate to her audience, but I am not part of that demographic and couldn’t rouse my enthusiasm for this one. I’d have absolutely no trouble recommending GONE BEFORE NIGHTFALL to younger readers or diehard fans of the young adult genre, but I’d be hard-pressed to offer the title to anyone with a taste for intricate or fast-paced storytelling.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Obtained from: Personal Kindle Library
Read: September 8, 2021

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