Thursday, February 28, 2013

Enchantments by Kathryn Harrison

Publisher: Random House 
Pages: 314 
Format: book 
Buy the Book: Amazon  

Goodreads:  St. Petersburg, 1917. After Rasputin’s body is pulled from the icy waters of the Neva River, his eighteen-year-old daughter, Masha, is sent to live at the imperial palace with Tsar Nikolay and his family—including the headstrong Prince Alyosha. Desperately hoping that Masha has inherited Rasputin’s miraculous healing powers, Tsarina Alexandra asks her to tend to Aloysha, who suffers from hemophilia, a blood disease that keeps the boy confined to his sickbed, lest a simple scrape or bump prove fatal.
 
Two months after Masha arrives at the palace, the tsar is forced to abdicate, and Bolsheviks place the royal family under house arrest. As Russia descends into civil war, Masha and Alyosha grieve the loss of their former lives, finding solace in each other’s company. To escape the confinement of the palace, they tell stories—some embellished and some entirely imagined—about Nikolay and Alexandra’s courtship, Rasputin’s many exploits, and the wild and wonderful country on the brink of an irrevocable transformation. In the worlds of their imagination, the weak become strong, legend becomes fact, and a future that will never come to pass feels close at hand.


Kritters Thoughts:  The daughter of Rasputin takes the lead in this story as she is company for an ailing child of the Tsar as they are all held captive in the capital.  She occupies his time by telling him legendary stories of their parents and the past.  

Each story that Masha told Alyosha built the history of their parents and their country and then the end happened where they told of the fall of Alyosha's father and family.  I am so thankful that the author added Alyosha's journal to complete the story, so the reader wasn't left wondering about the details that occurred once Masha and Alyosha were separated.  I definitely wondered throughout the book what I could note was historically accurate and what was fiction - I love when a book keeps me guessing.  

I have always had a thing for the Russian world when Tsar Nikolay saw his downfall (maybe it started with the animated movie of Anastasia), so it was very fun to read a fiction take on this point in history.  This book made me want to find more to read from this time and place.     


Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from TLC Book Tours.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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