Monday, January 5, 2009
Tsarina's Daughter by Carolly Erickson
The Tsarina’s Daughter, by Carolly Erickson, led me on a journey that I did not want to end. I was taken into the opulent world of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra and their family. Despite the well known ending of the Romanov dynasty, this fictional tale that allowed Archduchess Tatiana to escape her family’s murder was suspenseful and dramatic. The story is told in the style of a memoir written by the Archduchess describing her upbringing in palaces of St. Petersburg and Tsarkoe Selo.
For those of us who love the decorative arts, this story brought to life the atmospheric glow cast by the candlelight in the gilded banquet halls of the various royal palaces that are setting for the Archduchess’ tale. Her
description of the Tsarina’s mauve salon, the Tsar’s library, the Sevres china and sparkling crystal were enchanting.
For those of us who enjoy drama, this fictional account of the lives of the royal family, the failures of the Tsar and Tsarina, the revolution and its destruction of all this beauty does the not disappoint. Through the Tsarina’s Daughter, I traveled on the Royal Yacht to the Solent to attend the races hosted by King Edward II of England. I bumped along the frozen roads of the St. Pertersburg’s factory suburb, far from the fancy Nevsky Prospekt where the royals shopped and dined. There, in the stench of the tenements the Archduchess learned of the revolutionary foment of her father’s subjects.
This was a page turner that I recommend.
“Suspenseful and detailed, the novel captures a dramatic moment in history and will sear you with sorrow for this doomed daughter of the last tsar.” —People magazine
“A top-notch narrative …Erickson creates an entirely convincing historical backdrop, and her tale of a family’s fall from power and a country in transition is both romantic and gripping.” —Publishers Weekly
“Erickson . . . never lets harsh fact impede a good story. . . . Although the particulars of the Romanovs’ fall are familiar from other treatments, including Erickson’s biography of Alexandra, the suspense never flags . . . More entertainment than history, but all the better for it.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Erickson weaves historical details into this imaginative account of how Tatiana Romanov . . . escaped the Bolshevik assassins who killed Russia's royal family in 1918. . . . Despite knowing the real Tatiana's fate, readers will rejoice in the fictional version's survival. A sure winner.” —Library Journal
“Lovingly told, The Tsarina's Daughter is a story with a bittersweet ending, as real history sometimes is. Beautifully written, this is a terrific book to curl up with on a chilly autumn day.” —Romance Reviews Today
“This historical novel is the romantic story of doomed Tatiana Romanov.” —OK! magazine (4 of 5 stars)
“[C]lever and enchanting . . . [Erickson] has spun a sensitive and entirely believable story of the young woman's coming of age in the maelstrom of World War I and the ensuing collapse of the dynasty. It is a love story, to be sure, but what makes this book remarkable (and a compulsive read) is the author’s superb understanding of the fascinating personalities of the Imperial Family and the Russian court. Highly recommended.” —Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
From the bestselling author of The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette comes a dramatic novel and powerful love story about the last Russian imperial family.
It is 1989 and Daria Gradov is an elderly grandmother living in the rural West. What neighbors and even her children don’t know, however, is that she is not who she claims to be—the widow of a Russian immigrant of modest means. In actuality she began her life as the Grand Duchess Tatiana, known as Tania to her parents, Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra.
And so begins the latest entrancing historical entertainment by Carolly Erickson. At its center is young Tania, who lives a life of incomparable luxury in pre-Revolutionary Russia, from the magnificence of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg to the family’s private enclave outside the capital. Tania is one of four daughters, and the birth of her younger brother Alexei is both a blessing and a curse. When he is diagnosed with hemophilia and the key to his survival lies in the mysterious power of the illiterate monk Rasputin, it is merely an omen of much worse things to come. Soon war breaks out and revolution sweeps the family from power and into claustrophobic imprisonment in Siberia. Into Tania’s world comes a young soldier whose life she helps to save and who becomes her partner in daring plans to rescue the imperial family from certain death.