The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra

Helen Rappaport. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-250-02020-8
The lives of the four daughters—Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia—of Nicholas and Alexandra, Tzar and Tzarina of Imperial Russia, have been both sentimentalized and overlooked in the years since the Russian Revolution. Nonetheless, the politics of the court were such that they affected all members of the royal family, particularly through WWI and the Russian Revolution, which claimed the lives of the Romanovs. Rappaport (Magnificent Obsession), a specialist on Russian and 19th-century women’s history, works chronologically—a necessary step in understanding court intricacies and the major players involved—beginning with Alice, Princess of Hesse and daughter of Queen Victoria of England, whose own daughter, Alix, was to become the Empress of Russia. Rappaport details the difficulties leading up to the marriage of Alexandra to then tsarevich Nicholas, the birth of their children, and how the Romanov sisters blossomed into charming, capable, and affectionate young ladies. The public spoke of the sisters in a gentile, superficial manner, but Rappaport captures sections of letters and diary entries to showcase the sisters’ thoughtfulness and intelligence. Readers will be swept up in the author’s leisurely yet informative narrative as she sheds new light on the lives of the four daughters. B&w photo insert. Agent: Caroline Michel, Peters Fraser & Dunlop (U.K.). (June)
Reviewed on: 02/24/2014
Release date: 06/03/2014
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