The Madonnas of Leningrad is a story about the survival of the human spirit even during the darkest times. Dementia has robbed Marina Buriakov’s understanding of the present, but it has not eroded her memories of 1941 war-torn Leningrad. Then she worked as a docent at the Hermitage Museum, helping other staff members save the priceless collection from the approach of the German Army. As she removed paintings from their frames for evacuation to safety, the images remained in her mind. She could give gallery tours and identify each painting with just the empty frames on the walls. Now elderly she lives in the Pacific Northwest in America, and cannot relate to the upcoming wedding of her granddaughter. As Marina chooses a dress, she sees the blue in her dress as that of the robin’s-egg blue dress in Thomas Gainsborough’s Portrait of the Duchess of Beaufort, which she removed from its gilt frame. The author stays true to the historical facts of World War II in Russia, and gives the reader haunting glimpses into life during war, and insight into art history through Marina’s eyes. Remarkably, even in Marina’s confused state of mind, her view of the world is the same as it was in 1941. Everything is beautiful. .Although Marina is a fictional character, she represents all of the brave souls who worked around the clock, often without food or sleep, to save the art treasures of the Hermitage Museum.