Sorine Bentsdatter, is a tough, peppery, sarcastic, independent, and proud little dwarf woman who doesn’t waste time feeling sorry for herself. She has no time for sentimentality and sees the world and the people in it for what they really are.
When the King of Denmark gives her to Tsar Peter the Great, Sorine is sent to
to join Peter’s collection
of dwarves and other human oddities.
There, renamed Surinka, she meets the Tsar’s favorite dwarf, the perpetually
cheerful Lukas. Surinka is infuriated by his habit of always looking on the
bright side, but in spite of herself she succumbs to him. But life in Russia is hard, and Surinka is
haunted by the ghost of “the scoundrel” the n’er-do-well drunken lover she
lived with who fathered the hare-lipped baby she sacrificed to the river. Russia
She eventually grows disenchanted with
and runs away. She attaches herself to a noble family and becomes a combination
governess/jester for their children, until the children grow up and lose
interest in her, then she boards a ship back to Russia Denmark,
arriving just in time to see the Great Fire sweep through , supposedly as God’s punishment
for the people’s sins. Copenhagen
This was an interesting novel, a lot of historical fiction is very pretty, the clothes, the décor, and jewels, but this was more gritty, and the narrator had a more cantankerous and sarcastic voice, which was, in its way, a breath of fresh air. Sorine/Surinka and her actions weren’t always likeable, but she was definitely a fascinating character.