I was probably a fourth of the way through this book before I realized that the story is what the story is. I know that doesn’t make much sense, but the story is very concentrated and it takes a bit to understand that it’s not straying from a single focus. It takes place in Russia, shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution, and tells of an aristocrat – who obviously isn’t very popular after the communists take over – being put under house arrest in an upscale hotel in Moscow. The story then tells about his life through the years. Through the first 100 pages or so, I kept expecting the setting to change and for stories of other characters in other places to enter in. But that never happens. The book simply follows the main character’s life from his early 40s through his late 60s (all in the hotel – he can’t leave it). And once I realized what the point of the story was, I thoroughly enjoyed the book (I enjoyed it before then because the writing is good, but enjoyed it even more when I figured out that we’re staying in one place). What the book tells is of this guy’s redemption; how he goes from being somewhat of a dandy to becoming beloved and even an adoptive father who risks everything for his daughter. You like the guy from beginning to end and you like the people who surround him. And the ending is great. Really recommend the book.