A seductive, sensual and sinister love triangle set in 1930s America and inspired by the infamous Nabokov marriage
Zoya Andropova, a young Russian refugee, finds herself in an elite New Jersey boarding school. Having lost her family, her home and her sense of purpose, Zoya struggles to belong, a task made more difficult by her new country’s paranoia about Soviet spies.
When she meets charismatic fellow Russian émigré Leo Orlov – whose books Zoya has obsessed over for years – everything seems to change. But she soon discovers that Leo is bound by the sinister orchestrations of his brilliant wife, Vera, and that their relationship is far more complex than Zoya could ever have imagined.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a Physical copy of the book by Bloomsbury India in exchange for an honest review. However, all the thoughts, feelings and opinions expressed in this review are my own.
Invitation To A Bonfire is an intriguing, seductive and manipulative psychological thriller that built its foundation slow and steady until the reader doesn’t even know what they have been hit with!
Zoya Andrapov, an orphan refugee of the Soviet Union, enrolled in an all girl’s boarding school – she has lost everything by the time she was in America; but she still has hope – hope that leaks through each word that she says in the book. Zoya is quite relatable; for she is a misfit in a world she doesn’t recognize; in a world that is filled with extreme paranoia.
But slowly but surely, she matures into a woman when she takes charge of her life, especially after graduating – taking the job in the greenhouse at the same boarding school she studied at.
But it is when she comes face to face with one of her favourite authors of all – Leo Orlov during his tenure at the school as a teacher – is when everything starts looking brighter and sparkling!
There is only one problem – Leo Orlov is a married man. He is married the one woman who has always fascinated Zoya ever since she first met her – Vera – a magnetic women who might not charm everyone, but everyone definitely notices her woman.
From the first moment I started reading this book; I was drawn into the sinister quality of the story itself – there is naiveté, manipulation and disturbing quality to the kind of relations these three people, so inexplicably related to each other that you just couldn’t look away from.
The story itself in is a slow build – but the author has done a brilliant job of making it as creepily interesting as it was ominous to the reader – and I still can’t get the book out of my head. This would be a definite recommendation for those who love their thrillers to be psychologically freaky as possible.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐