This novel is wonderful. It mostly revolves around the two summers that Anton Chekhov spent as the “guest” (he was really renting a small guest house on the Lintvaryova estate) of the Lintvaryova family. My only complaint is that the story-line involved three separate women, Zinaida Lintvaryova, a doctor who has lost her sight and is dying from some form of cancer; Ana the translator of Zinaidas’ diary; and Katya the editor at the small publishing house. There was no way that Anderson was going to make me happy here. I wanted to know the whole story for each of the woman right away, and I didn’t want to wait!
For me, the most compelling story-line was the one pertaining to Zinaida. I found so much to love about this character. I enjoyed her friendship with Chekhov, and how she faced her fears and fought back against them. Ana was also a compelling character mostly because Anderson let us into her world. Katya was a harder character to get to know, this was done for a reason, as you will find out at the end of the novel.
I don’t want to let the plot out of the bag, however I do have to say that I enjoyed this novel and read it in two days. I highly recommend this book. Well done, Alison Anderson!