First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Katinka Dashkova wanted to live, so she held her breath. She had no choice. If she was to survive, she must be quiet as stone, as still as the statues decorating the great rooms of the Winter Palace. One ripple of the curtain behind which she crouched and he would find her.

Any ideas?

I have a few books on my TBR set in Russia, and this one’s opening really captured me. I’m definitely reading a lot of books set in Russia and Russian fairytales in December!

Goodreads Synopsis:

A magical, captivating tale of adventure set in imperial Russia. St Petersburg, Russia 1725. Katinka Dashkova is running for her life because everything she knows is changing. Katinka, a dazzling ballerina with a hunched back, and her friends Alexei the Giant and Nikolai the dwarf are different. That’s why they are part of Peter the Great’s Circus of Curiosities. But the Tzar is dead and they must flee the Winter Palace. Guided by a special map, they set out across Russia running for their lives. An enthralling and delicious blend of history and fiction.

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