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The Mirrored World    by Debra Dean order for
Mirrored World
by Debra Dean
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2013 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

Debra Dean has woven an unusual story around the life of a patron saint of St. Petersburg. Xenia, a daughter of lower nobility, has always cared little for social conventions. When she loses her beloved husband, she gives away all her money and possessions to the poor, earning undying gratitude from them and harsh disapproval from her family.

As interesting as this tale is, we have another in Xenia's companion and cousin Dasha, who must manage her lady's affairs as best she can, and whose own marriage is unique, enabling Dean to amply document the court and its excesses at that time.

While much is made by the book's publishers of the religious aspect of the story, namely that Xenia was perhaps a holy fool, it is hard to develop any enthusiasm about this since there is little foundation for it in the novel. Perhaps this is because the tale is told from Dasha's point of view. We really need to hear more about what makes Xenia the way she is and more about the religion that was practiced at that time and what it meant to the people, particularly the less fortunate.

All in all, the story in The Mirrored World definitely holds our attention, but it is more riveting about the situation at court than about a woman determined to give herself to others.

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