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May 8, 2022

The Master Craftsman by Kelli Stuart ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

When I read that this book was about the Faberge eggs that were gifted to the Czar of Russia and his family, I knew that I had to read it.  Several years ago, I was on a tour and was able to go the Faberge museum in St. Petersburg to see the remaining eggs.  It was amazing to see them and to realize how beautiful and intricate they were.  This dual timeline book gives readers an in-depth look at the shop of Karl Faberge and the political climate in Russia right before their revolution.  I ended up spending lots of time looking up pictures of all of the eggs that were mentioned in the book and they brought back memories of seeing them in Russia.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of women's fiction novel The Master Craftsman by Kelli Stuart
April 2022; Revell; 978-0800741150
audio, ebook, print (400 pages); women's fiction

The first timeline in this novel starts in 1904 in Russia and ends in 1925 in Finland.  It is mostly told by Karl  Faberge and is about the eggs that his shop has crafted for the Czar and his family.  As the unrest grows in Russia, he vows to keep working but when the royal family is executed, he knows that his life is in danger and flees the country.  Before he leaves, he entrusts a secret egg to one of his craftsmen and asks her to protect it by taking it out of the country.

The second timeline is present day and features Ava and her mother Carol.  Carol and her husband, Nick, had divorced years earlier because Nick was a treasure hunter and couldn't handle domestic life.  Now he's dying and asks to see his daughter.  At first, Ava doesn't want to see him but after a lengthy conversation about his desire to go on one more treasure hunt, she begs to be part of the hunt.  The goal is to find the missing egg that was taken out of Russia years ago.  When Ava begs to be part of the hunt for the egg, she has no idea what danger she will face.

Both of the timelines in this novel work well together and are equally as interesting.  In the earlier timeline there is suspense over what will happen to the Faberge studio and the Faberge family.  In the present-day timeline, there is considerable suspense as friends turn into enemies and strangers turn into friends as Ava and her teamwork to locate the missing egg.

I really enjoyed this book.  The present-day timeline was a bit slow in the beginning but the rest of the book had suspense and action that kept you turning pages.  The characters were well written and the plot moved quickly. I read a lot of historical fiction but mostly after 1930 so it was nice to go back a bit further in history for this book. 

Buy The Master Craftsman at Amazon 

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. She enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on Facebook.

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