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What Disappears

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What Disappears is a gripping multi-generational tale that begins in 1880s Tsarist Russia and ends in Paris at the start of World War I. Jeannette Dupres, one of two identical twins born to a Jewish family in dire financial straits, is spirited out of an orphanage as an infant by a couple from France. The other twin, Sonya Luria, raised to believe her sister died at birth, What Disappears is a gripping multi-generational tale that begins in 1880s Tsarist Russia and ends in Paris at the start of World War I. Jeannette Dupres, one of two identical twins born to a Jewish family in dire financial straits, is spirited out of an orphanage as an infant by a couple from France. The other twin, Sonya Luria, raised to believe her sister died at birth, has her life upended by the 1903 pogrom in Kishinev. The sisters are reunited in the doorway of Anna Pavlova’s dressing-room, when they both get jobs in Paris with Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, Sonya as a seamstress and Jeannette as an extra ballerina. In a relationship that ebbs and flows as it evolves, the twins’ deepest, darkest secrets are revealed, affecting not only them but also leaving their mark on the lives and fates of Sonya’s three daughters. Peopled by the greatest dancers, artists, writers, designers, and trend-setters of the Belle Époque, What Disappears explores the ways in which girls and women define their identity and search for meaning in a world that tries at every turn to hold them back.


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What Disappears is a gripping multi-generational tale that begins in 1880s Tsarist Russia and ends in Paris at the start of World War I. Jeannette Dupres, one of two identical twins born to a Jewish family in dire financial straits, is spirited out of an orphanage as an infant by a couple from France. The other twin, Sonya Luria, raised to believe her sister died at birth, What Disappears is a gripping multi-generational tale that begins in 1880s Tsarist Russia and ends in Paris at the start of World War I. Jeannette Dupres, one of two identical twins born to a Jewish family in dire financial straits, is spirited out of an orphanage as an infant by a couple from France. The other twin, Sonya Luria, raised to believe her sister died at birth, has her life upended by the 1903 pogrom in Kishinev. The sisters are reunited in the doorway of Anna Pavlova’s dressing-room, when they both get jobs in Paris with Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, Sonya as a seamstress and Jeannette as an extra ballerina. In a relationship that ebbs and flows as it evolves, the twins’ deepest, darkest secrets are revealed, affecting not only them but also leaving their mark on the lives and fates of Sonya’s three daughters. Peopled by the greatest dancers, artists, writers, designers, and trend-setters of the Belle Époque, What Disappears explores the ways in which girls and women define their identity and search for meaning in a world that tries at every turn to hold them back.

44 review for What Disappears

  1. 4 out of 5

    Karla Huebner

    This is a richly imagined historical novel rooted in several not-usually linked fin-de-siecle worlds--the world of Russia's Jewish community and the restrictions and pogroms suffered by residents; the world of ballet and particularly Diaghilev's Ballets Russes; and the world of Paul Poiret's groundbreaking new approach to French couture. This is also a novel that focuses on a family, a Russian Jewish one torn apart by ethnic prejudice, violence, and a Frenchwoman's desire to get what she wants d This is a richly imagined historical novel rooted in several not-usually linked fin-de-siecle worlds--the world of Russia's Jewish community and the restrictions and pogroms suffered by residents; the world of ballet and particularly Diaghilev's Ballets Russes; and the world of Paul Poiret's groundbreaking new approach to French couture. This is also a novel that focuses on a family, a Russian Jewish one torn apart by ethnic prejudice, violence, and a Frenchwoman's desire to get what she wants despite the cost to others. Much of the early story takes place in the late-nineteenth-century Russian empire, when twin girls are born into a Jewish family already sundered by a politically motivated prison term. Temporarily unable to handle the financial and emotional costs of childcare, the working mother reluctantly takes the twins to the orphanage with the understanding that she will later retrieve them. (This, by the way, was not an uncommon practice for families in trouble back then. My own grandfather's half-brothers spent some time in a Minnesota orphanage after both their mother and their grandmother died, later returning to their father's care.) While the girls are in the orphanage, a Frenchwoman arrives, wanting to adopt a Russian Jewish child to honor her own Russian Jewish ancestor. Sighting the twins, she insists on taking Zaneta against the protests of the caretaker, and renames her Jeannette. This sets in motion the saga of separated twins who both end up working in Paris, with Sonya becoming a seamstress and designer and Jeannette rebelliously becoming a ballet dancer when her adoptive father's family treats her coldly after the death of her adoptive mother. Both women develop complicated relationships with Paul Poiret, and eventually meet and have to deal with their own sisterhood. I enjoyed reading this, and would definitely recommend it to readers of historical fiction, women's fiction, and readers interested in the Ballets Russes and Paul Poiret's rise to stardom within Paris couture. I was reasonably familiar with the milieu and both the Ballets Russes and Paul Poiret's biography prior to reading the novel, but one doesn't have to know about any of that to enjoy the story. The chapters do jump around somewhat in their chronology, but I rarely found that at all confusing. My thanks to NetGalley and Regal House for providing an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Linda Hutchinson

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 What Disappears by Barbara Quick is a story of two twins born during the late 1880s to middle-class Jewish parents in Tsarist-ruled Russia. Born during a night of violence when many Jews were arrested without cause, as their homes and businesses were demolished. The young birth mother, already struggling to feed her older children and unable to reach her husband, has to place the twin girls in an orphanage until she can figure out their future. While the twins are in the orphanage, a desp ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 What Disappears by Barbara Quick is a story of two twins born during the late 1880s to middle-class Jewish parents in Tsarist-ruled Russia. Born during a night of violence when many Jews were arrested without cause, as their homes and businesses were demolished. The young birth mother, already struggling to feed her older children and unable to reach her husband, has to place the twin girls in an orphanage until she can figure out their future. While the twins are in the orphanage, a desperate wealthy French woman unable to have children steals one of the twins. The two identical and beautiful twin sisters spend years apart, with one raised as a Jew and the other sister raised as a Catholic. But this story goes much deeper. From Tsarist Russia to WWI, you can see the progressive hate that continuously runs deeply in the culture of the times. It doesn’t seem to matter who is the leader of France, Russia, etc., they want to eradicate Jews. The one twin raised a Catholic has difficulty accepting her Jewish heritage. This reflects society's stigma on those of the Jewish faith. It brings to mind our current world troubles—Wars rage on in the name of religion. There is always someone to blame and no one to save. We are indeed doomed to repeat history. I liked the book and the dynamics of a family thrust together under challenging circumstances. Betrayal, political abuse, poverty, wealth, power, struggle, life, love, and deception. There are so many parts to this compelling story. #Judaism #wars #worldwars #France #Russia #oppression #obsession #family #twins @netgalley @regal_house_publishing #netgalley #whatdisappears 🍼 Thank you to NetGalley, and Regal House Publishing for this ARC; my thoughts and review are my own and without bias. Pub Date: May 13, 2022. #bookaddict #booksofinstagram #bookhaul #bookstagram #bookstagramer #bookshelf #booksbooksbooks #readersofinstagram #reader #booklove #bookobsessed #instabooks #readABook

  3. 4 out of 5

    Judith Lindbergh

    Harrowing and charming in equal measures. The twin sisters of What Disappears are separated at birth. They transit from Tsarist Russia to Paris along very different routes, both in search of connection and love. Quick delves deep into the complex relationship of the absent sibling and expectations of relationship which are so often thwarted by reality. Her portrayal of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and the world of high fashion Paris are spot on and fascinating. Harrowing and charming in equal measures. The twin sisters of What Disappears are separated at birth. They transit from Tsarist Russia to Paris along very different routes, both in search of connection and love. Quick delves deep into the complex relationship of the absent sibling and expectations of relationship which are so often thwarted by reality. Her portrayal of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and the world of high fashion Paris are spot on and fascinating.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Orange

    Thank you to Net Galley, Regal House Publishing and the author for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. What Disappears’ has a really intriguing premise of twin sisters separated soon after birth, one is adopted by a French family and becomes a ballerina. The other remains with her mother in Russia and becomes a seamstress. By some miracle the two end up crossing paths in Ana Pavlova’s dressing room, both of them now employed by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. As much as I enjoyed the boo Thank you to Net Galley, Regal House Publishing and the author for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. What Disappears’ has a really intriguing premise of twin sisters separated soon after birth, one is adopted by a French family and becomes a ballerina. The other remains with her mother in Russia and becomes a seamstress. By some miracle the two end up crossing paths in Ana Pavlova’s dressing room, both of them now employed by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. As much as I enjoyed the book, I have to cap my rating at 3.5 (leaning towards 3) stars. It was an interesting plot filled with exploration into the past and the present and the evolving of the relationship between the twins. However, it felt like there was a long time between them finding each other and the ending of the book. We never really got anywhere. Perhaps if it had been in a linear format it would’ve been more compelling but the flipping back and forth between past and present and Russia and France meant that halfway through chapters I was getting lost “Wait what year is it again?!” I did enjoy What Disappears’ despite my criticisms. The characters were compelling, and it felt like a very ‘real’ snapshot of life for them. From high fashion, to grief, to love, to family and so much more. I really loved Barbara Quick’s way of dealing with complex emotions in such a compelling way. From the 1880s to the start of World War 1, the world is changing so rapidly that it could be lost in amongst the tale of the two sisters but it’s not, it’s handled brilliantly. I would absolutely recommend this book, especially if you can keep up with the time and country changes. Once again thank you to Net Galley, Regal House Publishing and the author for the ARC.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    It started out as a great read. I was well into the night reading it on my bed, in the dark. Halfway through the book when Sonya was dying did the plot (and the book) veered off. It became a jumbled mess of events that did not act cohesively. The ending was rushed and had chunks of it omitted and missing. Other than Sonya, nobody else had character development or any change. The book was promoted as two twin sisters finding each other decades later and finding their position in each other's live It started out as a great read. I was well into the night reading it on my bed, in the dark. Halfway through the book when Sonya was dying did the plot (and the book) veered off. It became a jumbled mess of events that did not act cohesively. The ending was rushed and had chunks of it omitted and missing. Other than Sonya, nobody else had character development or any change. The book was promoted as two twin sisters finding each other decades later and finding their position in each other's lives. It was anything but. It focused 70% on Sonya, the older twin. Jeannette, as an adoptee, was portrayed as an ungrateful, bitter, selfish, conniving person who'd not hesitate to scheme and try to steal her sister's daughter to fulfill her incomplete dream of motherhood. Paul Poiret, the weirdo with twin fetish, was the worst character I ever met. My only favorite were Olga with her smart mouth and Asher, who got only one chapter of page time but then quickly killed off. The ending was complete unsatisfying and needed so much explanation. Did Sonya finally marry Jascha? What about Jeannette? Nijinsky? Baila and Olga and Naomi? Paul Poiret? Rene Blum? Daniel and Klara? Lev and his wife? Even Faya who died long ago? So many questions left on my mind isn't a good ending IMO. Thank you, NetGalley and Regal House Publishing, for providing me with an eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

  6. 4 out of 5

    meg

    Glamourous read set in La Belle Époque. This novel is about sisterhood and finding loved ones that once were lost. Sonya and Jeanette are sisters separated shortly after their birth in tsarist Russia, united years later in Paris. From there, their connection develops as they search for their own identities and search for love. The novel is well researched and immersive in its recreation of La Belle Époque Paris on the page. The novel takes readers backstage at the Palais Garnier, to haute coutur Glamourous read set in La Belle Époque. This novel is about sisterhood and finding loved ones that once were lost. Sonya and Jeanette are sisters separated shortly after their birth in tsarist Russia, united years later in Paris. From there, their connection develops as they search for their own identities and search for love. The novel is well researched and immersive in its recreation of La Belle Époque Paris on the page. The novel takes readers backstage at the Palais Garnier, to haute couture ateliers, to train stations around Paris. However, I did find the plot to be a bit rushed. I wish the storyline of discovery and the sisters finding each other was not resolved so quickly and that it would have taken more space in the book. Based on the novel's description, I was expecting this plot to be the central plot of the book and so I was surprised when it was wrapped up so quickly. I would recommend this book to readers who like historical fiction about the performing arts and fashion. Thank you NetGalley and Regal House Publishing for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    ⭐️

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Interesting premise; twins separated soon after birth. One is aware she has a twin and the other believes she’s an only child. I thought them finding each other was going to be the main storyline, but it wasn’t. In fact they met at the beginning & it’s backtracks from there. It was a little anticlimactic after that. The constant back and forth from Paris to Russia, present and past, character to character was jarring & hard to follow. It would be helpful if certain sections/chapters were labeled Interesting premise; twins separated soon after birth. One is aware she has a twin and the other believes she’s an only child. I thought them finding each other was going to be the main storyline, but it wasn’t. In fact they met at the beginning & it’s backtracks from there. It was a little anticlimactic after that. The constant back and forth from Paris to Russia, present and past, character to character was jarring & hard to follow. It would be helpful if certain sections/chapters were labeled w/ the character’s name. The story didn’t flow well & character development was lacking. There’s a lot of name dropping of famous people & descriptions of the fashion of the era showed the author did a lot of research. However, toward the end it was superfluous. Overall, this started out strong, but didn’t quite make it to even 3 stars for me. Also? I definitely would tweak the cover art before publication. **ARC courtesy of @NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. #netgalley #whatdisappears #barbaraquick

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jasminegalsreadinglog

    What Disappears is a historical fiction set in both Russia and Paris during the period preceeding the first world war where things were changing dramatically. It's mainly the story of Sonya and Jeanette who as twins get separated. This is their journey to find each other. As a premise this book is very promising. However, it falls flat by the end. The constant back and forth between the timelines makes it really difficult to keep a track of the happenings in the story. I did not connect to even o What Disappears is a historical fiction set in both Russia and Paris during the period preceeding the first world war where things were changing dramatically. It's mainly the story of Sonya and Jeanette who as twins get separated. This is their journey to find each other. As a premise this book is very promising. However, it falls flat by the end. The constant back and forth between the timelines makes it really difficult to keep a track of the happenings in the story. I did not connect to even one character in the story. I am still trying to get grips on the actions of these two characters. I wanted to give up on this book but did want to know the ending so finished it, but the ending was not convincing. Not a fan of this book. 2 Stars. Thank you Netgalley and Regal House Publishing for an ARC of this book. Content Warning: Mention of upsetting prejudice.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Gorgeously written and daring in scope of drama from the poverty and pogroms of Russia to the world of fashion and the Ballets Russes of Paris 1909, WHAT DISAPPEARS follows the story of identical twins separated at nine months in a world that is changing rapidly. One sister clings to her difficult life as a dancer; the other who has lost both her great loves, struggles on with her three daughters. Between betrayal, danger and perfect love found and lost, the twins reunite in Paris. One sister is Gorgeously written and daring in scope of drama from the poverty and pogroms of Russia to the world of fashion and the Ballets Russes of Paris 1909, WHAT DISAPPEARS follows the story of identical twins separated at nine months in a world that is changing rapidly. One sister clings to her difficult life as a dancer; the other who has lost both her great loves, struggles on with her three daughters. Between betrayal, danger and perfect love found and lost, the twins reunite in Paris. One sister is the quiet steadfast heart of this story and the other its restless discontent. Some dreams shatter, and other come true in a way you never could have expected. WHAT DISAPPEARS is a book you will find hard to put down and impossible to forget.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    I fell in love with this book. I had an ARC and worried about the Russian turmoil affecting the release date. Quick’s characters are born in Russia at the beginning of the 1900’s. Alas, as the family deals with losses from the Spanish flu and antisemitism, it was clear that history repeats and we rebuild. The book is timely and hopeful. This is a story about family at its center, but is also about love, loyalty, knowing who to trust and at what length, and learning how to be fiercely savvy to su I fell in love with this book. I had an ARC and worried about the Russian turmoil affecting the release date. Quick’s characters are born in Russia at the beginning of the 1900’s. Alas, as the family deals with losses from the Spanish flu and antisemitism, it was clear that history repeats and we rebuild. The book is timely and hopeful. This is a story about family at its center, but is also about love, loyalty, knowing who to trust and at what length, and learning how to be fiercely savvy to survive and find happiness. A perfect escape!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nichol Taylor

    This book started out really good. I loved the concept of the twins finding eachother almost as if by chance. All with paris and ballet as the background. I strugled as the story went on. The story jumps back and forth between the past and current times as well as peoples POV. As the two time lines get closer together, it became harder for me to dicfer which point in time I was in. This paird with randome POV's dropped in of side characters and the almsot rambily way that some of the characters This book started out really good. I loved the concept of the twins finding eachother almost as if by chance. All with paris and ballet as the background. I strugled as the story went on. The story jumps back and forth between the past and current times as well as peoples POV. As the two time lines get closer together, it became harder for me to dicfer which point in time I was in. This paird with randome POV's dropped in of side characters and the almsot rambily way that some of the characters would talk, ended up pulling me out of the story a lot.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary

    Breathtaking in scope and historical fiction, but the ending is abrupt in comparison to the depth of detail that preceded it. It also needed a stronger editor to push for a more balanced story. The glossary at the end was well done. Would have liked a more subtle presentation of the historical facts. Yes, it was well researched. But it overshadowed the fictional storyline. Thanks to #NetGalley and #WhatDisappears for an advanced digital copy.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Karren

    What Disappears, an historical novel by Barbara Quick, is an ambitious work populated with such larger-than-life personalities as the prima Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, the superhuman Polish ballet star Vaslav Nijinsky, the groundbreaking choreographer Sergei Diaghelev, the innovative French fashion designer Paul Poiret who released women from corsets but then put them in his hobble skirts.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Janie Anderson

    If you love historical fiction take a look at #What Disappears by author # Barbara Quick. It begins in Tsarist Russia and ends in Paris. During the time period of WWl.About two twin sisters separated. This is a heart stopping novel..... Thank you for the advance copy, # Netgalley and # Regal House Publishing 💜🐾🐾

  15. 4 out of 5

    Polly Krize

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Twins separated at birth end up meeting in Ana Pavlova's dressing room in the Ballet Russe. Well written with great descriptions of people and places, although a bit difficult to follow the multiple timelines. Overall, good historical fiction. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Twins separated at birth end up meeting in Ana Pavlova's dressing room in the Ballet Russe. Well written with great descriptions of people and places, although a bit difficult to follow the multiple timelines. Overall, good historical fiction.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Aria Harlow

    I really enjoyed this book, it was very well written with a good and obviously well researched storyline and well developed characters., some of which are real people. I was gripped and I couldnt put it down.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Emilie

    A slow start for me, but once I was in the story fully, it was a fast, breathless kind of read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cary Fraser

    I would recommend this book. So good.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Martha Anne Toll

    Here's my interview with author Barbara Quick at the Washington Independent Review of Books. https://www.washingtonindependentrevi... Here's my interview with author Barbara Quick at the Washington Independent Review of Books. https://www.washingtonindependentrevi...

  20. 4 out of 5

    caterina

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pam

  22. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn Redmond

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ola Nycz

  25. 5 out of 5

    Reading_ Tamishly

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Kelly

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ainun Zahra

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bleu

  29. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Hoffman

  30. 4 out of 5

    Joe

  31. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

  32. 4 out of 5

    Eve

  33. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

  34. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  35. 4 out of 5

    Justine Laismith

  36. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

  37. 5 out of 5

    Becky

  38. 4 out of 5

    Barb

  39. 5 out of 5

    Amrita Chhabria

  40. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Smith

  41. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  42. 4 out of 5

    Holly

  43. 4 out of 5

    Natasa

  44. 4 out of 5

    Laura Styles

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