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Reviewed by Tiffany Ferrell for Readers' Favorite
Susana Aikin’s We Shall See the Sky Sparkling tells the tale of a young Edwardian girl who was disowned and removed from her family for wanting to pursue her dream of becoming an actress. Lily Throop quickly finds out how hard it is to be a seventeen-year-old trying to get onto the stage. Encountering menacing and malicious fellow actors and businessmen, Lily also makes friendships as we follow her on this journey, as well as finding her first true love, only to see her situation change and a jealous seasoned actor wanting her to himself. To escape scandal, Throop takes a daring voyage to Russia where she meets many of the aristocratic families and falls in love with the most troublesome of them all. In Russia leading up to the Russo-Japanese war, we see behind the scenes as her beau Sergei takes on a dangerous fight to achieve equality for the Russian people. This is something that is not only looked down upon by his social class but puts him and Lily in danger as the Czarist regime is still very much alive at this point. Through ups and downs, joys and heartbreak, we follow Lily as she matures, sending letters to the beloved siblings she left behind.
I was really surprised by how much I liked this book! I’ve always been a historical fiction fan but We Shall See the Sky Sparkling gives a new perspective on the life of the actress in Edwardian England and just how different it was back then to be a young woman with a dream to grace the stage. Lily’s character really drew me in as I followed her from one situation to the next, feeling sorry for all she went through. I couldn’t imagine how many real-life stage actresses of the time went through such things. It definitely pulled my attention from my normal research on the British monarchy. What I found the most interesting was her trip to Russia. As a huge history buff, I’ll admit that I’m extremely intrigued by the Romanov dynasty; its rise and fall has always been a fascination of mine. In Aikin’s book, I got a good feel for what had been going on outside the palace walls. The early work of those who would eventually spark the Russian revolution and the end of a three-hundred-year-old dynasty. We Shall See the Sky Sparkling is an amazing read for both history lovers and historical fiction readers alike.