by Helen Rappaport
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Buy the Book: Amazon
Goodreads: They were the Princess Dianas of their day—perhaps the most photographed and talked about young royals of the early twentieth century. The four captivating Russian Grand Duchesses—Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia Romanov—were much admired for their happy dispositions, their looks, the clothes they wore and their privileged lifestyle.
Over the years, the story of the four Romanov sisters and their tragic end in a basement at Ekaterinburg in 1918 has clouded our view of them, leading to a mass of sentimental and idealized hagiography. With this treasure trove of diaries and letters from the grand duchesses to their friends and family, we learn that they were intelligent, sensitive and perceptive witnesses to the dark turmoil within their immediate family and the ominous approach of the Russian Revolution, the nightmare that would sweep their world away, and them along with it.
The Romanov Sisters sets out to capture the joy as well as the insecurities and poignancy of those young lives against the backdrop of the dying days of late Imperial Russia, World War I and the Russian Revolution. Rappaort aims to present a new and challenging take on the story, drawing extensively on previously unseen or unpublished letters, diaries and archival sources, as well as private collections. It is a book that will surprise people, even aficionados.
Kritters Thoughts: The Romanov family may be one of the most famous families in history, but I always wondered if all the stories I had heard about them were anywhere near the truth. I was intrigued by this book when I received the pitch and was excited to see a bibliography that was many many pages knowing that this author sought out the truth to write her book.
With a few stories in a history class and a Disney movie, I knew that the little "facts" that I had from their history could be a little off. I knew of Rasputin and knew of the finale, but didn't know how Rasputin was involved in the downfall of their family.
This book was FULL of details. With 381 pages full of details.
The book started with some back story on the mother of the children, which was interesting to read how she was raised and then see her raise her own family. Then after the two chapters of back story, the reader is taken into the dating and marriage of Nicholas and Alexandra. Then the children come along and the story goes up and down and then really down.
The one thing that maybe I missed, but would have liked was a little bit more of a story as to why and when Russia as a country decided that Nicholas wasn't doing his job and what the rest of the country was feeling. As this book centered around the family, as a reader I could feel the isolation that the family felt and maybe the exclusion of the outside world and the stories that were there was the author's choice.
If you have any interest in the Romanov family, click the giveaway below to enter to win a copy of your own.
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 St Martin's Press. 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.
Thank you to St Martin's Press for providing a giveaway of 3 copies. The giveaway ends on June 17th and is only open to US residents.