Book Review

ARC Book Review: A Waltz with Traitors by A.L. Sowards

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Historical Fiction + Romance
Length: 328 pages
Author: A.L. Sowards
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Release Date: March 14th, 2023
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Sometimes the road to freedom is a six-thousand-mile-long railroad track. Sometimes the road to love is even longer.

The Former Russian Empire, 1918

Czech soldier Filip Sedlák never wanted to fight for the Austro-Hungarian Empire. So at the first opportunity, he defected to the Russians. Now he and others like him have formed the Czechoslovak Legion. Their goal: leave the chaos of Russia, sail to France, and help the Allies defeat the Central Powers, thereby toppling a hated empire and winning an independent Czechoslovakia.

With the fall of the tsar, Nadia Linskaya’s life is in ruins. Her family is dead, her lands are confiscated, and her aristocratic world is gone forever. But Nadia is determined to elude the Bolshevik agent who destroyed her family and find a way to survive in this changed world.

When Nadia takes refuge with the Czechoslovak Legion, the last thing she expects is an ally. But when Filip proposes a sham marriage to ensure her safe passage across Siberia, she takes it. Neither Filip nor Nadia expect real love, not when the legion has to take over the longest railroad in the world—and then hold it against Bolshevik counterattacks, partisan sabotage, Allied intrigue, and a set of brutal Siberian winters. At risk is the future of Czechoslovakia, the fate of Russia—and their hearts.

Thank you to Covenant Communications and author for an ARC.


This is my first A.L. Sowards book and it will officially not be my last. I was captivated from the start and continually kept wanting to read this to know what happens next. I’m picky when I pick up historical fiction because I prefer reading about less common areas and this has it. 1918 in former Russia? No I have not read any books like this and I loved learning more about this time through the book and the author’s note afterwards (and as a history nerd googling things too).

I loved Nadia’s strength. She could have easily lied down and be done with all that life was handing her, but through her faith (their is a light faith vein throughout) and the kindness of just enough people Nadia kept taking the next step forward. I also adored Filip. He had that passion and deep love for what his country and watching out for those around him. I thought their relationship was sweet (and HELLO marriage of convenience!!). The way multiple things were handled between them gave my heart all the flutters and hope.

This book surprised me by having more than two POVs and I LOVED the addition of the others! With the seeing other snippets of the people around Nadia and Filip, I quickly fell in love with the side characters too. Why I wouldn’t call every ending a happy one, it all did feel beautifully hopeful and true to the unfortunate nature of war.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical Fiction + Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: closed door between married couples
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: depictions/theme of war, war injuries, gun violence, disease, miscarriage, kidnapping, off-page sexual assault/rape, executions

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