‘Daring opens the door to many opportunities. Masha behaved as she was one of them, long ago accepted into their fine circle.’

Jenna is a young author form Luxembourg who started writing as early as age 8! She’s come a long way since then and has published several novels now, The Confines of Eden is her third book.

The story is set in early 20th century Russia and follows Masha, a young dancer, from 1909 to 1917. Masha was orphaned when her father was murdered and developed a close relationship with her brother who is a soldier. Together they are trying to navigate the  complicated world of high society and aristocracy, where they meet more than one obstacle.

Being very talented, the young girl soon joins a renowned ballet company where she gets noticed by the Tsar. Her dancing enchants the audience and soon she is surrounded by admirers, suitors and patrons, while Masha likes this attention it also comes at a price. Her training is hard and she has barely any time to look after her sisters and sick grandfather. On top of that she tries to avoid the intrigues inherent to the ballet world by keeping her rival dancers at a distance.

As if her life was not already complicated enough, she gets caught up in love conflicts and has to decide whether she wants to follow her heart or assure financial stability by marrying one of her many admirers. Everything is put on hold when the war starts and the reader gets to know another side of Russia, far from the glamour of the ballet and balls.

The war changes the country and Masha; death and famine are now a regular occurrence and people somehow have to find a way to survive. This brings a political twist to the narrative and the reader is introduced to the Bolsheviks who contrast the world of nobility that was previously depicted and is slowly getting cracks. Not only Masha but the reader too has to decide which side they stand on in this story that offers many different possibilities.

The rather large time span allows for detailed descriptions and the reader gets the chance to really get to know the characters and follow their development over the course of history.

The main plot revolving around Masha is completed by a number of sub-plots which the author manages to connect skilfully, creating a gripping narrative. The inclusion of Russian terms makes the narrative even more immediate and authentic.

This book is great for every Russophile who would like to dive into the world of 20th century Russia, discovering not only the bright side of the Tsars life bit also the darker, often less thematised side, of ordinary people. Although the novel is rather long, the story never gets boring and a shorter plot would not have suited this rather complex story which needed to be fully elaborated in order to develop its potential.

More information about the author and her projects can be found here www.jennadliberatore.com

Happy Reading!



How did you discover your love for writing?

I discovered it early on, when I was about eight years old. My Mom used to buy me a lot of books, which I devoured - I was a real bookworm. At one point I discovered that I enjoyed creating my own stories and started writing them down.

Why do you write in English?

My first novel, which I wrote when I was fifteen, was actually in German, but as I started reading more and more books in their original language - English, I became more accustomed to English than German. It is now the language I am most comfortable with, and where I can best express myself in.

What inspired The Confines of Eden?

My love for ballet and Russian history and culture inspired The Confines of Eden. I took ballet lessons for three years when I was a child, and after watching the animated film Anastasia, I became interested in the Romanov family and Russian history. I decided that one day I would write a novel playing out during that time.

How has the pandemic impacted your writing?

The pandemic has actually had a positive impact on my writing. I am lucky to be able to work from home most of the week, which means that I no longer lose two hours a day for the trip to the office and home. This allows me to plan in more time for my writing and for the research linked to it.

Do you have any future plans?

I am currently working on my first novel, A Rebel's Song, which is the story of a young girl who runs away from her privileged life and ends up being taken in by the tribe of the Lakota. It is not a classical love story, but the novel describes the love for freedom and independence, and for a people who are fighting for these values. It is a project dear to my heart to share this story with my readers, but I feel I need to work on it before I publish it, since I wrote it so long ago. My writing style has evolved since, and I want the book to be on the same level as my other novels. Once A Rebel's Song is published, I'll dedicate my time writing the sequel of The Confines of Eden.