Antony Lambton, Author Dutton Books $18.95 (415p) ISBN 978-0-525-24395-3
Lord Lambton, one-time member of the British Parliament, keeps close to historical fact in this fictional reconstruction of the lives of two of Queen Victoria's granddaughters: ""Alix,'' who married the weak Czar Nicholas II, and ``Ella,'' wed to detestable Grand Duke Serge, later governor of Moscow. Yet the story, if somewhat muted, is never dry. The focus is less on Alix, who dominated her husband and was in turn dominated by the dissipated monk Rasputin, than on the lesser-known but more appealing Ella, who was trapped in loveless marriage to a man notorious for his corruption, administrative incompetence and persecution of Jews. After his assassination, Ella became a nun and devoted herself to helping the needy. Lambton skillfully evokes the faded grandeur of Victoria's court, the decadence of Imperial Russia, the rumblings of the October Revolution and, through it all, the poignant lot of unhappy Ella. He concludes with excerpts from the real Ella's diary, written as disaster was overtaking the imperial family, and appendixes that contain revealing documents relating to that event. (April 16)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1986
Release date: 04/01/1986
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