copy of book A Gentleman in Moscow sitting on table with plant and lamp

A Gentleman in Moscow: An Excellent Book for Couples Reading Together

A “Couples Reading Together” review of Amor Towles’s novel A Gentleman in Moscow. Why this historical fiction set in Russia during the socialist movement is a book you will enjoy reading together.

What it’s About:

A Gentleman in Moscow begins after the Russian Revolution in June of 1922. The People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs deems thirty-three year old Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov an Imperialist and finds him guilty of writing an anti-Revolution poem. He is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol Hotel in Moscow and told if he ever sets foot outside the doors he will be shot.

We get a glimpse of our main character’s charm, intelligence, and wit in the transcript of the hearing. As the story develops, we watch him build a life for himself within the confining walls of the hotel. We get to ride along as Count Rostov adapts to his new life and interacts with the people who come and go at the Metropol–many times in surprising ways.

Spanning a number of decades, the plot proceeds from the days of the Bolsheviks under Vladimir Lenin to the establishment of the Soviet Union and the totalitarian rule of Joseph Stalin. It is through the wonderful characters Towles has created that we experience all of this.

A Gentleman in Moscow is fiction, set mainly in the Hotel Metropol, an historic hotel that is still operating in Moscow. It takes place against the backdrop of real people and true events of the times. This uplifting, entertaining, and often deeply moving story vividly portrays the political and social life in Russia in the first half of the 1900’s.

Why a Gentleman in Moscow is A good book to read together:

  1. While we both had a general knowledge of the history, seeing it through the eyes of Towles’s characters made it seem more real to us. As a result, we engaged in some interesting discussions about what we were reading.
  2. Towles’s characterization of Count Rostov is amazing. Often while we were reading, one of us would laugh out loud. We enjoyed sharing those humorous anecdotes and exchanges from the book.
  3. There is something for both male and female readers in this book. Bob enjoyed the history and politics. Liz appreciated the romance and the feeling of ‘family’ Count Rostov acquires over time.
black and white picture of couple reading together

Bob says:

I am a fussy reader. I can determine if I like a book within the first ten pages. This book grabbed my attention immediately. I was thoroughly entertained and I learned about Russian history at the same time. Those who have studied the Russian Revolution and those of us that experienced the U.S.S.R. years will totally enjoy this book. The Gentleman at various times brought happiness, sadness, excitement, and mystery. From beginning to end, I was kept on the edge of my seat.

Liz says:

I enjoyed this book so much I read it twice! I’ve been recommending it to everyone I know. It is very well written and in such a clever way that it kept me engaged all the way to the satisfying ending. The premise drew me in from the start. What would it be like to live in a hotel and not be able to leave? Amor Towles’s highly entertaining and emotional portrayal of Count Rostov’s adventures when the Metropol becomes his permanent home did not disappoint. Do as the Count does: tilt your chair back and enjoy!

Exciting news for fans of the book!

We just watched the first episode of a new drama series that is based on the book starring Ewan McGregor. We were impressed with the quality of the production and loved the way the story line stuck close to the book. So far, so good! We will enjoy watching the new episodes as they are released weekly between now and May 17, 2024. We are watching on Amazon Prime, but there are several streaming options. We’d like to hear your opinion if you watch the series.

Have you read A gentleman in Moscow?

What did you think of it? Share your comments below!

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