Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Everything about this novel, set in 1930s New York, is achingly stylish - from the author's name to the slinky jacket design. Katey Kontent, daughter of Russian immigrants, and Evie Ross, from the sleepy midwest, are an ambitious, wisecracking pair who, despite lack of money and connections, aim to set the city alight. A fortuitous meeting with the apparently wealthy Tinker Grey on New Year's Eve, 1937, will change the course of both their lives.

The Undertaking by Audrey Magee

A soldier on the Russian Front marries a photograph of a woman he has never met. Hundreds of miles away in Berlin, the woman marries a photograph of the soldier. It is a contract of business rather than love. When the newlywed strangers finally meet, however, passion blossoms and they begin to imagine a life together under the bright promise of Nazi Germany. But as the tide of war turns and Allied enemies come ever closer, the couple find themselves facing the terrible consequences of being ordinary people stained with their small share of an extraordinary guilt...

The Trinity Six by Charles Cumming

Hard-up Russia expert Dr Sam Gaddis finally has a lead for the book that could solve all his career problems. But the story of a lifetime becomes an obsession that could kill him. When his source is found dead, Gaddis is alone on the trail of the Cold War’s deadliest secret: the undiscovered sixth member of the infamous Cambridge spy ring. Suddenly threatened at every step and caught between two beautiful women, both with access to crucial evidence, Sam cannot trust anyone. To get his life back, he must chase shadows through Europe’s corridors of power. But the bigger the lie, the more ruthlessly the truth is kept buried…

Ice road by Gillian Slovo

About the book Leningrad, 1933. Loyalties, beliefs, love: all are about to be tested to the limit in one of the most crushing moments the world will ever know. Watching everything is Irina, who understands that simple loyalty to an individual may well be more powerful than blind loyalty to an idea. Reviewed by Denmead… Continue reading Ice road by Gillian Slovo

The Rose of Sebastopol by Katharine McMahon

Russia, 1854: the Crimean War grinds on, and as the bitter winter draws near, the battlefield hospitals fill with dying men. In defiance of Florence Nightingale, Rosa Barr - young, headstrong and beautiful - travels to Balaklava, determined to save as many of the wounded as she can.