A Gentleman in Moscow: Book Review

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles is a historical fiction novel that follows Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov’s imprisonment at a hotel in Russia. The unique plot makes this book stand out but it is the writing by Towles that pushes this novel to critical acclaim! Keep reading to read a summary of the novel and whether you should add it to your reading list!

A Gentleman in Moscow Summary

Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov was born in Saint Petersberg, Russia on 24 October 1889. His godfather Grand Duke Demidov served in the cavalry and was his father’s comrade. In 1900, both of the Count’s parents died of cholera and his godfather becomes his guardian and prepares him for adversity. 

One lesson his godfather instills in him in him is that “”…adversity presents itself in many forms, and if a man does not master his circumstances, then he is bound to be mastered by them.” The Count and his sibling have to make social visits to nearby estates as it is a requirement.

A Gentleman in Moscow book cover
A Gentleman in Moscow book review

When the Count is a young man, he is sent out of the country as he was required to because of custom and a scuffle. But when he returns home after the Bolsgevik revolution in 1917, he is arrested. 

The Count is sentenced to house arrest for the rest of his life in his current residence, Hotel Metropol. Life happens around the Count and he makes the most of his situation. Russia goes through a lot of changes and the Count experiences it from the confounds of Hotel Metropol.


A Gentleman in Moscow was a spectacular read and it is unlike anything else out there. Amor Towles beautifully sets up the scenes and history of Russia and fluidly inserts it into the plot. Not many authors can make a history lesson this interesting!

Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is a protagonist that jumps out of the book with his vivid description and personality. He is a character that I think about often to this day. If an author can make his character come to life, then you know the book is great!

The inspiration for this novel was Towles’ own experiences of staying at luxury hotels. More specifically, it was in Geneva, Switzerland where he encountered permanent guests of the hotel. That along with his expertise of Russia and its tradition of long-time house arrest led to this book. The best novels seem to always be ones inspired by real life experiences. 

A Gentleman in Moscow


Amor Towles is an amazing author and he may have written a modern classic in my opinion. There is nothing like A Gentleman in Moscow out there which makes this a unique book and it provides a reading experience that is likely to stay with you for years! If you like historical novels and great writing, then you will enjoy this novel a lot. Happy reading!

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8 thoughts on “A Gentleman in Moscow: Book Review

  1. Sharon Holdren says:

    Absolutely loved this book. I reccomend to all my fellow readers. As a lifetime reader, a librarian, a teacher and now a volunteer at a community non-profit book wearhouse, it is in the top 5 books I’ve ever read.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yes, such a memorable book and one of the first I read with the Vero Beach Bookies book club soon after my retirement.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I loved it too, read here in my small town in Germany not so far away from where real war in Ukraine is going on. Imaginative, poetic, written by a gentleman “through and through” ( and difficult to place among those others fighting that war in every dirty way to cause as much pain and damage as possible). Now & then, I had to take a breath thinking of the reality compared to my read.

  4. Anonymous says:

    And “A Gentleman in Moscow” then followed by “Lost Splendour” by Prince Felix Youssoupoff because I could not get enough Russian history…this one being real, not made up. This was truly fascinating — from a man who was once so wealthy, he had never even visited all his properties and estates — till the Revolution.

  5. JB says:

    I finished it but it put me to sleep more times than I care to admit. I know I am in the minority but this book was just too long and too much repetition about haircuts and meals.


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