Albert: I had high expectations for this book and was quite disappointed by it. The first half of the book was a drag to read. I found the protagonist, a Count under house arrest at a hotel, to be pompous and it didn’t feel like anything was happening. About halfway through the story, Sofia, a child that ends up being taken care of by the Count, enters the story and makes the story far more interesting to read. However, that’s not saying much considering how dull the first half was. Rating: C
Kevin: The gentleman is the Count, a Russian aristocrat sentenced to confinement in a hotel. Most of his adventures are driven by two little girls—Nina and, years later, her daughter Sofia. The third main character in his life is, as far as I can tell, his occasional lover Anna, a celebrity film actress. A little unrealistic, but charming, like a fairy tale.
Unfortunately, I think the book could have been much shorter. The prose is quite elegant, but often slowed down the plot. (Maybe I don’t appreciate great fictional writing as much as I “should.”) The interspersed historical references were interesting, but certainly did help in this aspect. Rating: B-