War and Peace, Book 1: A Review

I am super pleased to report that I am plugging along on War and Peace!

I gave my brother in law a War and Peace reading schedule for Christmas this year. We’ve talked about reading this novel for years but haven’t yet. I decided that 2016 was the year! Plus, this is on my Classics Club list.

To help with my motivation and to break up the writing a bit, I decided to write short posts about each book in the novel. There are 15 in total plus 2 epilogues so there is plenty to write about.

First reactions to War and Peace:

  • I love Tolstoy’s writing style. He isn’t in a hurry to drive the plot and can make a description of a woman’s dress or someone’s sitting room take several paragraphs. It’s descriptive and beautiful. And I’m surprised that although not a ton happens, I find myself invested and engaged in the story.
  • I have read almost exclusively on my Kindle and love the ebook format. My copy of War and Peace has over 1000 pages and the print is tiny. My Kindle tells me how many minutes I have to finish the current chapter. These reminders help motivate me to continue reading–and the font is bigger.
  • Keeping the characters straight is already tricky. I refer to family trees and character lists regularly.


The first book of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy builds a backdrop for the larger plot of the novel. We get discussions of war at dinner parties, in sitting rooms, and among friends. We are introduced to many characters in many families and learn how they are connected to one another. At the end of this book, several young men head off to war against Napoleon and the French.

My favorite scenes occurred in the Rostov home. I enjoyed their family dynamic and the way they celebrate with family and friends. I also enjoyed the young love stories there. Boris and Natasha are so darling (and so young!). I’m curious how the love triangle circling Nicholas Rostov.

Prince Andrew is one of the most intriguing characters thus far. I want to know more about his background and why he got married. And why he has fallen out of love too. Hoping he is not hurt or killed in the war.

Pierre is also an interesting character and has become far more interesting with his new inheritance. I wonder how he will live and if he will become more responsible–I hope so.

Anna Mikhailovna Drubetskaya currently drives me crazy. I think she is a gossip and acts beyond her station. When she goes to the deathbed of Pierre dying, rich father, I got so annoyed at her. She seems to have ulterior motives for everything she does.

Things that confuse me:

  • The different spellings for the same name.
  • The family trees (getting better with time and images)

I am intrigued by the beginning of book 2 when several characters are now at the front of the war with Napoleon. Although I know how the war ends, I am unfamiliar with a lot of the details. The novel seems to be moving towards added complexity with new settings and characters coming every chapter.

Overall, I like it so far. I am impressed that I understand what is going on, and the story keeps me engaged.

7 thoughts on “War and Peace, Book 1: A Review

  1. Pingback: January Wrap-Up and February TBR | greenish bookshelf

  2. I read the same version on my Kindle and it was definitely worth it! It was one of the books that convinced me the longer books should DEFINITELY be read on Kindle! I’m glad you’re enjoying it. When you finish you’ll think the rest of your CC list is a breeze 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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