Extended Audio Sample

Download The Madonnas of Leningrad Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Madonnas of Leningrad Audiobook, by Debra Dean Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (6,786 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Debra Dean Narrator: Yelena Shmulenson Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2012 ISBN: 9780062246172
Regular Price: $18.99 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $14.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

Bit by bit, the ravages of age are eroding Marina's grip on the everyday. An elderly Russian woman now living in America, she cannot hold on to fresh memories—the details of her grown children's lives, the approaching wedding of her grandchild—yet her distant past is miraculously preserved in her mind's eye.

Vivid images of her youth in war-torn Leningrad arise unbidden, carrying her back to the terrible fall of 1941, when she was a tour guide at the Hermitage Museum and the German army's approach signaled the beginning of what would be a long, torturous siege on the city. As the people braved starvation, bitter cold, and a relentless German onslaught, Marina joined other staff members in removing the museum's priceless masterpieces for safekeeping, leaving the frames hanging empty on the walls to symbolize the artworks' eventual return. As the Luftwaffe's bombs pounded the proud, stricken city, Marina built a personal Hermitage in her mind—a refuge that would stay buried deep within her, until she needed it once more. . . .

Download and start listening now!

BK_HARP_003115

Quotes & Awards

  • “An unforgettable story of love, survival, and the power of imagination.”

    Isabel Allende, New York Times bestselling author

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jamie | 2/17/2014

    " Interesting story, especially if you like art. The main character is suffering from Alzheimer's and lives in her memories of working at the Hermitage during the siege of Stalingrad. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hope | 1/26/2014

    " I liked this book. Some of the things I liked about it were the descriptive language as the author described the Hermitage (and the paintings) in Russia. I liked her style of writing, how she kept going back between past and present. What I didn't like was the way I never really got to know any of the characters in the book. Dimitri is not well represented, the relationship with the daughter is not developed enough. I went away feeling that the book was unfinished, with a lot of questions. I don't know if this was on purpose but I almost feel like there should be a sequel! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie Bell | 1/15/2014

    " Of course, as always I love the other culture aspect. The artistic setting was also very nice. I really liked the characters and wanted more! The contrast between the woman as young and in the war to her as elderly was well done. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lori Mendenhall | 1/6/2014

    " I expected something so much more interesting... hiding the art of the Hermitage during the Nazi bombing sounded like it could be full of danger, suspense, and bravery! but the book really only used this as a backdrop. it as mostly about Alzheimers and also about how the Russians suffered during WWII. It was somewhat interesting and kept my attention enough but I was let down with the focus of the story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Padgy | 1/4/2014

    " I liked the book. It wasn't one that you just couldn't put down but was an enjoyable read. I liked the information about the art in the Hermitage. As I came across the paintings in the book I would find them online and would read more about them. I could also feel the pain, hunger, and cold that the Siege on Leningrad brought to the people through her descriptions. I think that Debra Dean did a wonderful job showing how Alzheimer's effects someone and the people around them. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brenna Call | 1/1/2014

    " Must love art to really love this book I think. I lost momentum when I set this one down and I couldn't get back into it so I just gave up. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellenh | 1/1/2014

    " This book moves back & forth between Marina's life in 1940's Leningrad and 40 some years later when she is struggling with Alzheimers. An interesting portrayal of that bleak time at the Hermitage and the survival of she and her husband Dimitri. The ending left me in the air & wishing it could have been better for them. A pretty good read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joanne | 12/23/2013

    " Just finshed. (OK so the bookclub was last night but I was 90% done then! Finished now!!) Really enjoyed it!Wait...did I read it?? I don't remember! Ha-ha! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Colleen | 12/16/2013

    " Wonderful book, you learn about the Russian side of WWII "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sandy | 11/29/2013

    " Interesting tale, but the flow from reality to the past was not as smooth as it should've been. A few more details would have added so much to the story. And the ending was abrupt. I turned the page expecting a denouement. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ramsey Debra | 10/30/2013

    " This is a good book that weaves a tale about a women with Alzhiemers and her memories of living during WWII in Leningard. D "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joyce | 10/17/2013

    " A woman with Alzheimers is increasingly unable to distinguish between her present-day life attending a grandchild's wedding and her war-time experiences in Leningrad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 K | 9/2/2013

    " It was beautifully written; it made me cry. I enjoyed the way the narrative was interwoven between the past and the present. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joelle | 8/18/2013

    " so far, reminiscent of one of my favorites, 'city of thieves'. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah S | 8/13/2013

    " The trials of WWII contrasted w/ the present battle w/ Alzheimer's. Dreamlike and highly visual. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennyreadsexcessively | 8/9/2013

    " WWII, historical fiction, the narration alternates between Marina's Alzheimer's and her work at the Hermitage Museum during the siege of Leningrad, enjoyed the descriptions of the paintings, just ok--prefer Dunmore's novel "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Catharine | 8/7/2013

    " Liked it, historically accurate, very descriptive. Mix of everything that happens to women. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Iris | 7/18/2013

    " Really liked this book. The discriptions of hunger during the siege are very realistic, and one can almost feel the biting cold. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Josh Gunter | 6/16/2013

    " The best piece of historical fiction I have read, to date. It seem incredibly well-researched and infused with emotion. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Faith Weldon | 5/26/2013

    " Therre was a lot of tension in this novel that concerns the horrors of wartime and those of a person developing Alzheimers. The tone was constistently maintained. The author managed to touch upon very human moments among the horrors. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 AntKathy | 5/25/2013

    " Fascinating story. Very well researched and written. I had a hard time putting it down, and can't wait to read Debra Dean's newest novel, "The Mirrored World"! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Edith Clayton | 5/22/2013

    " This book was so beautiful and so sad that I had to blink away tears many times before I could continue reading. War and alzheimers and the ways people cope. I've never been to the Hermitage, but this book felt like a personal tour. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Charlene | 2/11/2013

    " The Madonnas of Leningrad is a must-read! Set in war-torn Leningrad, this is a bittersweet love story of romantic commitment, love of art, and terrible struggle. It's a captivating read that somehow is also heart-warming and nostalgic. I loved it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Aviva | 12/15/2012

    " Something about this book really pulled me into the story. I think a big part of it is that I just finished planning a unit on "Animal Farm" so had recently refreshed and increased my knowledge of the Russian Revolution. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jennifer | 12/7/2012

    " The story was interesting, but I felt like an illustrated version would have been more helpful. I couldn't quite tell if it was a good story or a good gimmick. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sandee | 11/4/2012

    " Not a bad book but seems like I've been reading too many books lately that jump back and forth between the past and present. This would be a good read if you like art history and WWII stories. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author

Debra Dean worked as an actor in New York theater for nearly a decade before opting for the life of a writer and teacher. She and her husband now live in Miami, where she teaches at the University at Miami. She is at work on her second novel.

About the Narrator

Yelena Shmulenson, an actress and audiobook narrator, is a four-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award. She emigrated to the United States with her family in 1993 from Ukraine. Her theater credits include five seasons with the Folksbiene, two seasons at the Ellis Island Theatre, Enemies: A Love Story in Russian, and The Essence: A Yiddish Theater Dim Sum. On film, she can be seen in The Good Shepherd, Romeo & Juliet in Yiddish, Fire at the Triangle, and A Serious Man.