June 14, 2019

The Romanov Sister by Helen Rappaport - Review

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

Book details
Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First edition (June 3, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9781250020208
ISBN-13: 978-1250020208

Book description
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 Rappaort aims to present a new and challenging take on the story, drawing extensively on previously unseen or unpublished letters, diaries and archival sources, as well as private collections.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.

Meet the author - Helen Rappaport
Helen F. Rappaport (née Ware; born 1947), is a British historian, author, and former actress. As a historian, she specialises in the Victorian era and revolutionary Russia.
Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

My thoughts
I loved this book. I actually listened to the audio version and am so happy I did as I am not sure I could have pronounced the names in this book. I had not read anything about this family nor did I really know anything about them. They talked a lot about hemophilia which is of particular interest to me as my nephew has this horrible disease.  It was interesting to hear about their lives and how the girls helped with the War and enjoyed being able to help.  Their mother had a lot of health issues which kept her from being able to do as much as she wanted with the children but did not hinder their love for each other.  I also liked how it show how much their father loved them even though they were not boys.  He did not care that when the were born he did not have a male heir to the throne, he was just happy to have a healthy child. The closeness that this family shared is not something you always see in Royal families so that was refreshing to see. I highly recommend this book. 

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