Review: A Simple Soul by Vadim Babenko

A Simple Soul by Vadim Babenko
Release Date: May 22, 2013
Publisher: Ergo Sum Publishing
Pages: 406
Source:  book provided by publisher for review

His crafty plan results in a deadly threat. Her hopes keep her locked in a vicious circle. They parted ways, supposedly forever. But will they be able to live apart?

Elizaveta, an attractive Muscovite, experiences a series of odd events: she is followed; she receives anonymous calls, flowers, and gifts. The culprit is her former lover, Timofey. He now lives far from Moscow and has a flourishing business, but a serious threat emerges when the daughter of a local mafia boss wants to marry him. Timofey knows his life is at risk if he says no. He creates a cunning scheme to save himself by staging a sham marriage with Elizaveta playing a primary role. Masterfully manipulating her feelings, Timofey persuades her to come visit him in his small town, but things soon take a dramatic turn.

A seemingly romantic journey becomes a struggle for survival. Timofey and Elizaveta confront real danger when they least expect it. Love and deception reveal their essence when the best of intentions come into conflict with each other. The protagonists try hard to achieve their goals, but, in the end, each of them finds something much different instead. Illusion, ultimately, proves stronger than reality. And coincidences are often not so random after all.


Review: As I read the book and more characters were introduced, I realized this was a story that involved many characters whose lives touched at some point. Everyone is connected by a thin thread and as the threads interweave, a web is formed drawing them closer together. The hard part was waiting for that connection. Some I saw immediately, others took almost the entire book to play out. It was amusing when they occasionally passed one another on the street or just missed each other in restaurants. When they began to merge into the same area, I got excited. I could see the “big showdown” coming and couldn’t wait to see how it played out.

The hardest part of the book were the proper nouns. I’m pretty good with languages but I haven’t had much experience with the Slavic languages. I found myself tongue-twisting and just slaughtering the names. On the flip side, it peaked my interest in Russia once again – a place I yearned to visit when I was young and before the wall came down.

Several of the characters thoughts mirrored my own from one time or another:

“When she snuggled into her cozy sofa with a book, or laid out her belongings and spread her aura over  her small apartment, it became clear there was no space for anyone else.”

“They didn’t speak now of their former lives, but about each other and the burdens of loneliness, guardedly admitting mutual sympathy and selecting their words carefully to avoid being pathetic.”

“The soul may be caged while the spirit soars.”

“We women are gullible. We believe everything they hurl at us – flowers, candy hearts, the Soul Number…”

“They don’t even read books now if too much is written in them.”

A Simple Soul is not a simple book to read. There are several plot lines and characters to follow. Some characters seem almost similar and I found it hard to keep them separate – or to at least remember which was which. However, if you are looking for something solid and intriguing, A Simple Soul just may do it for you.

Favorite Quote: And I’ll always be wanted: I am Venus, my stone is diamond.