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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport

From the beginning of this story, despite the aristocratic grandeur of its setting and the richness surrounding the family, you knew that somehow things were not going to end well.

We look at the last Royal family of Russia in detail. Backed up by heaps of letters, diaries, pictures and correspondence we have a very private but happy family composed of Nicholas and Alex the parents and their four beautiful daughters. The absence of a male heir was a huge bone of contention till Alexis was born. He was unfortunately sickly, a haemophiliac and was looked after with so much care and concern because the slightest fall or incident was enough to be life threatening. Alexis hovers over the story, an integral part no doubt but it is actually the four girls who gain our love and attention.

Four Princesses - all different all attractive and all serving the common man when the need arose when war broke out. The book does not focus just on their life as Princesses and the social and political appointments they undertook in that sphere. The book also looks at their family life which was so very simple and so far removed from what people actually thought royalty lived like.  They had strict routines for study, play, exercise and entertainment. Food was simple and there was none of the over glamorous atmosphere that one expected from such a court.

The story follows the life of the sisters and their parents through the harrowing times of the Revolution and to the very end in Ekaterinberg.  That the family expected exile of some kind but did not expect to be murdered so brutally was obvious. Sent to Siberia and then they thought to some country outside it was not to be. 

Despite the wealth of historical detail, this was a very easy book for anyone to read. You did not have to be a fan of historical fiction or an aficionado of Russian history to appreciate this book. This was a very readable book and a human interest story with a very much family saga despite it being on a royal scale. 

The book was sent to me via Netgalley by the publisher. Thank you.


  1. I'm glad you liked this one. I've seen other reviews where the amount of detail has been highlighted as a negative part of the book, but I do like lots of detail in historical books like this.

  2. there was a point in high school when i was obsessed with all things anastasia and the romanovs. i devoured all the books i could find about them. i'd still read this book today because the romanovs are just so interesting to read about. i like that you mentioned that it's not a hard book to get through. i'm not a fan of heavy, dry history books.

  3. Excellent Mystica! Just added it to the list and thank you!

  4. Sounds like a very good read. I do love historical fiction. Thanks for sharing.

  5. The Romanovs have always fascinated me. I'll definitely have to pick this one up.