Historical fiction is my literary guilty pleasure. It's something that I always associate with older people reading, but I love it. John Boyne is the author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and whilst I loved reading that, I honestly had no idea that he wrote adult fiction too. This is a book club read for the little club at work, and I'm so glad I joined it, because otherwise I never would have picked this up.
The House of Special Purpose is set during a period of history that I don't really know much about at all. It focuses on the infamous last Romanov family, and the deadly corruption spread through Russia by Rasputin.
The story is told in parts that span decades. Georgy is an elderly Russian emigre living with his dying wife Zoya. Amidst caring for her in these tender moments, he tells the story of his youth. He was brought to Tsar Nicolas Romanov's winter palace in St Petersburg to act as a friendly bodyguard to his son.
Georgy thinks things are on the up for him, as he's taken out of his peasant town, but things in the palace are harder than he ever anticipated. With the stern Tsarina constantly looking over his shoulder, and political troubles making thinks tense throughout Russia, the family is on edge.
This tells the story of what *might* have happened to the Romanov family. It's a story of hope and fear and love and war and now I want to read everything else John Boyne has ever written.