by Anna Pitoniak
This novel offers a point of view on characters who are almost certainly based on Donald and Melania Trump. The focus is mostly on Lara and not her husband. Readers definitely come to understand the forces that formed her personality.
Lara grew up in a family that was fairly privileged in Moscow. For example they had a dacha and some number of Western goods. Lara’s father, who comes across as a nice man, works for the KGB. The family is sent to Paris, a city that is so different to Moscow, and they live there for many years.
Some things happen to Lara that clearly shape her. Readers will discover these things for themselves as they read the novel. How do these life events impact Lara? How does her being Russian influence her future and decisions that she makes?
The story is told in different timelines ranging from Lara’s childhood to her role as the wife of a (bombastic) president. Readers get to know Lara well (if, in fact, she is honest in talking about herself). They also get to know those around her.
The conceit of the story is that a journalist is hired to write this mysterious woman’s biography. What will this mean to journalist Sofie Morse? Something to be sure, as when the novel opens she and her husband seem to be hiding outside of the U.S.
I found this novel to be engaging. It felt a bit odd to be reading it thinking about Trump and the state of the world now. That said, I do recommend it.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are mine.