Charlotte Hobson has written a book that touches on two subjects that interest me enormously: the Russian Revolution and time travel.
Without giving away too much of the plot — and there is a central mystery which is explained on the very first page — suffice it to say that the real time travellers here are the author and reader.
Hobson has managed to get into the mind of a young English woman who finds herself in the Moscow of 1918. That woman founds an urban commune with her friends, and the stories of their struggles to create a new life together remind me of some stories of the early kibbutzim — such as the sharing of clothing.
Hobson doesn’t flinch from describing the reality of Bolshevik Russia — the cold, the hunger, the stifling bureaucracy, the lawlessness of the secret police (the Cheka), all of this happening not in the 1930s under Stalin, but in the first year of Lenin and Trotsky’s rule. She understands all that, but she also gets the excitement and the hope, and the possibilities that the overthrow of the tsarist regime opened up.
An excellent first novel.