Author Guest Post | The author behind “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” explores the hidden meaning behind the title and talks about how it inter-relates to Natayla herself.

Posted Thursday, 8 February, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

As you might recall, I happily read a novel in January which was set in Russia and captialised on a living person’s life – my latest in finding a compelling Biological Historical narrative which was so wickedly writ to the truth of the woman’s life as to make you feel you had walked a proper mile in her shoes. The author and I staid in touch after my review posted during her lovely blog tour – as I had hoped all along to feature her in a guest post talking about specific points of her story-line (the cross-references to today’s current events) and the curious hidden meanings (if any) behind the choice in ‘title’.

This lead to a wonderfully planned out essay which Ms Laam has written to be shared with all of you – I love how she talks to the purposeful meaning behind what is truly ‘lost’ and how the theme behind the title is played throughout the story, further revealling the homage seen in the title. Whilst I had observed whilst I was reading the novel, there are a lot of carry-overs into today’s society about the rights for women and the further need for our rights to be upheld in all instances (not just in the workplace). Natayla did not live in an age of freedom where she would have more choices than those which were availed to her and in many ways, her story does read like a tragic love story. I personally felt Natayla had been given a bad rap in History – as I sided with the author’s own reflections after I finished reading her rendition about her life.

Too often women in History are misunderstood or their motives are misconstrued in modern eras – in Natayla’s case, I don’t believe any historians had fully given her a chance to have her voice heard much less understood. When you read about what she was facing and what she was going through – your heart softens to her plight. You can definitely feel empathy for her and in the end, what is truly sad is how it all unfolds into such an emotionally charged ending. I am unsure if she’s a victim of the times or a victim of how sometimes you can become a victim of circumstances which are never fully resolved. In her case, love was not something without conditions placed against it and her life was never truly her own.

I hope you enjoy reading Ms Laam’s guest essay about “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” – perhaps inspiring you to pick up a copy of this dearly inspiring Historical narrative or if you’ve already read it – perhaps this will help clue you into things you’ve observed whilst you were reading it. Either way, be sure to brew yourself a cuppa and enjoy ruminating about what the author leaves behind to be pondered!

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Why I was interested in learning more about the hidden meaning behind this title:

There are so many keen moments of beautiful prose in this narrative – of observations on ordinary objects, to the traditions of holidays and the little touches of rooting us within the time-line of History, as Natayla steps further into the foreground of the story. The people she is interacting with are as viable as anything else being described because of the nature of how close certain circles were kept and maintained. It was fitting to find her in such company because her movements in social circles was evidence enough she would cross certain people’s path at some point or another. What lends such a gasp of awe for us who are reading about her for the first time is how her path started to intersect with so many well-known figures of her generation. A bit like the Fitzgeralds in the 1920s who curbed the market for knowing all the latest persons in literature, art, music and the creative arts.

It was not long for me to feel lost inside the world Ms Laam created within the pages of The Lost Season of Love and Snow; for this was a coming-of-age story which created it’s own niche out of what is known and unknown within the fables of history. As we dig further into the life of Natalya, we find a girl who is maturing into her own skin, of sorting out her emotions and of finding she does not fully ascribe to her mother’s sensible beliefs about marriage and life. Within these pages, you get to tuck close to her, watching her as she moves through the hours and attempts to forestall the influence of her sisters and brothers whilst owning to the fact, without being married she is still under her mother’s rules. This is partially what captured my attention most – as in so many ways this story reminded me why I love Little Women.

-quoted from my review of The Lost Season of Love and Snow

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Author Guest Post | The author behind “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” explores the hidden meaning behind the title and talks about how it inter-relates to Natayla herself.Author Guest Post (Jennifer Laam)
Subtitle: The Lost Season of Love and Snow
by Jennifer Laam

The unforgettable story of Alexander Pushkin’s beautiful wife, Natalya, a woman much admired at Court, and how she became reviled as the villain of St. Petersburg.

At the age of sixteen, Natalya Goncharova is stunningly beautiful and intellectually curious. But while she finds joy in French translations and a history of Russian poetry, her family is more concerned with her marriage prospects. It is only fitting that during the Christmas of 1828 at her first public ball in her hometown of Moscow she attracts the romantic attention of Russia’s most lauded rebel poet: Alexander Pushkin.

Enchanted at first sight, Natalya is already a devoted reader of Alexander’s serialized novel in verse, Evgeny Onegin. The most recently published chapter ends in a duel, and she is dying to learn what happens next. Finding herself deeply attracted to Alexander’s intensity and joie de vivre, Natalya hopes to see him again as soon as possible.

What follows is a courtship and later marriage full of equal parts passion and domestic bliss but also destructive jealousies. When vicious court gossip leads to Alexander dying from injuries earned defending his honor as well as Natalya’s in a duel, Natalya finds herself reviled for her alleged role in his death. With beautiful writing and understanding, Jennifer Laam, and her compelling new novel, The Lost Season of Love and Snow, help Natalya tell her side of the story—the story of her greatest love and her inner struggle to create a fulfilling life despite the dangerous intrigues of a glamorous imperial Court.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-250-12188-2

Also by this author: The Lost Season of Love and Snow

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Women's Studies


on 2nd January, 2018

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Topic of Interest in regards to “The Lost Season of Love & Snow”:

I personally love the hidden meanings and histories within book titles – can you share what the title ‘The Lost Season of Love and Snow’ is eluding too and what you hope readers might pick up on whilst reading the story which might lend a different interpretation on the title’s hidden meaning? Also, titles aside – what do you believe is the ‘lost season of love and snow’ referring to directly?

Whilst how do you feel Natayla’s life could be seen as a cautionary tale which is reflective of the current events which are highlighting Women’s Rights today?

The Lost Season of Love and Snow is a reference to Natalya and Alexander Pushkin’s passionate, but doomed, relationship. They met and married while she was still quite young, at least by modern standards. They had four children together and shared a great mutual affection. Alexander Pushkin himself spoke eloquently to the power of their love when he shared the following: “I am married and happy. My only wish is that nothing will change.”

Life being life, circumstances did change. Like snowfall itself, the marriage was beautiful and delicate. On a personal note, living in Michigan for three years, I came to know the stillness of the season. Unlike the pounding rain that characterized winters of my childhood, snow falls silently. After a night of snow, I awoke to a world utterly transformed. And yet for all its splendor, snow added great challenges to daily life, requiring extra layers of protective clothing, sturdy boots, and a morning spent with a shovel to clear a way outside the house.

Likewise, the Pushkins’ marriage faced numerous troubles, fueled by financial pressures and the attention of other people. In some histories, however, problems in the marriage are described as entirely Natalya’s fault and due to her shortcomings. She was unfairly depicted as selfish, vain, dangerously flirtatious, and a spendthrift. External issues, such as the potentially dangerous interest the tsar took in Natalya and the rigid codes of masculine honor that led to Alexander’s fatal duel, were given less attention. Ultimately, the marriage and Natalya’s side of the story were lost.

The marriage was not to last Natalya’s lifetime, but rather served as the pivotal season in her young life. It changed and shaped her in all the ways a traumatic season will. In marrying Alexander, she grew from a sheltered, girl, to a strong, worldly woman. In the end, the lost season of her marriage helped Natalya face the road ahead as a woman forever attached to scandal, but with the strength to live a full life and even love again.

For many years, Natalya’s story, her experience with her marriage to Russia’s greatest poet, lived on the fringes of the historical record. As an undergraduate student, I knew her only as the beautiful but villainous wife who indirectly caused Alexander Pushkin’s death by duel. And then a few years ago, I read Tatiana by Martin Cruz Smith, in which several Russian characters refer to Natalya in destructively sexist ways, including “Pushkin’s whore.” As a reader, a little older and a little wiser now – at least I like to think so – I grew intrigued and wanted to learn more about Natalya and her perspective on the events that led to her husband’s death.

To my profound relief and great interest, I found that Natalya’s story is being recovered. In recent years, scholars have done archival work that gives us much greater insight into Natalya herself. Once I learned more about the reduced financial circumstances and family tragedies that punctured Natalya’s youth, her complicated relationship with her sisters, and her own unsupported intellectual interests, I knew I wanted a chance to share her story. Digging deeper, I wondered if a modern reader might feel, as I did, that Natalya’s experiences with the tsar could constitute sexual harassment. Natalya might not have had the modern vocabulary to express those encounters in such terms, but that doesn’t mean they’re undeserving of our attention. For I believe that reconstructing the lost seasons of women in the past can help us move forward with a more respectful and empathetic attitude toward women’s experiences in the present and future.

The Lost Season of Love and Snow captures both the poignancy of the relationship between Natalya and Alexander Pushkin and the way that connection impacted the remainder of Natalya’s life. I hope the title also serves as a means for readers to consider and perhaps rethink the lost seasons in their own lives.

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About Jennifer Laam

Jennifer Laam

Jennifer Laam is the author of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, The Tsarina’s Legacy, and the forthcoming The Lost Season of Love and Snow, all from St. Martin’s Griffin.

She is represented by Erin Harris at Folio Literary Management. Jennifer has lived in Los Angeles and the suburbs of Detroit, and currently resides in California’s Central Valley. When she is not busy writing or reading, Jennifer spends her time obsessing over cosplay, trying new vegetarian recipes, line dancing, and spoiling cats. She works for her alma mater, University of the Pacific.

Converse via: #HistFic, #HistoricalFiction + #LostSeasonOfLoveAndSnow

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My review was part of my participation on behalf of the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours:

The Lost Season of Love and Snow blog tour via HFVBTsFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Lost Season of Love and Snow”, book synopsis, author photo & biography of Jennifer Laam and the tour badge were all provided by HFVBTs (Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours) and are re-used with permission of the author Jennifer Laam. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Writerly Topics banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Thursday, 8 February, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Alexander Pushkin, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Coming-Of Age, Creative Arts, Family Drama, Family Life, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, History, Inspired By Author OR Book, Life Shift, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Passionate Researcher, Russia, Russian History, Second Chance Love, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Women's Fiction, Women's Rights, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writer, Writing Style & Voice




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