Friday, April 27, 2012

Review: "The Lost Crown" by Sarah Miller

From Goodreads:  Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia. Like the fingers on a hand--first headstrong Olga; then Tatiana, the tallest; Maria the most hopeful for a ring; and Anastasia, the smallest. These are the daughters of Tsar Nicholas II, grand duchesses living a life steeped in tradition and privilege. They are each on the brink of starting their own lives, at the mercy of royal matchmakers. The summer of 1914 is that precious last wink of time when they can still be sisters together--sisters that link arms and laugh, sisters that share their dreams and worries, and flirt with the officers of their imperial yacht.

But in a gunshot the future changes for these sisters and for Russia.

As World War I ignites across Europe, political unrest sweeps Russia. First dissent, then disorder, mutiny, and revolution. For Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, the end of their girlhood together is colliding with the end of more than they ever imagined.

At the same time hopeful and hopeless, naive and wise, the voices of these sisters become a chorus singing the final song of Imperial Russia. Impeccably researched and utterly fascinating, this novel by acclaimed author Sarah Miller recounts the final days of Imperial Russia with lyricism, criticism and true compassion.

My Thoughts:  Seriously, I loved this book.  I was very skeptical as I usually am pretty disappointed in historical fiction works that take on the last Russian royal family.  I figured would I hate this book too but I picked it up anyway.  Holy cow!  If you read any work of historical fiction on Nicholas, Alexandra and their children, read this book. 

The Lost Crown is basically the story of the fall of the Russian Empire told from the perspectives of Tsar Nicholas' four daughters, Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia.  This is a very unique way of telling the story and I thought the author did a great job of bringing the girls to life.  Each daughter has her own voice and provides a unique look at the events occurring between 1914-1918.  I especially liked those of Olga and Anastasia.  Olga would have been in her late teens/early twenties during this time and the author made her into a very perceptive young woman who could see why there was such turmoil, where her parents had made mistakes and could see what lay ahead for the family.  The author admits that she elaborated on these scenes but I still thought it made for a very interesting take on the story.  I enjoyed Anastasia's scenes because the author made her into a perfectly sweet, smart and funny character.  Towards the end of the book, there is one scene where she is thinking about how she wants to be more than just another grand duchess and how she doesn't want history to forget her.  The whole monologue simply broke my heart.  History definitely hasn't forgotten her, I just wish it wasn't for such a tragic reason. 

This is certainly a sad book (I was a little teary eyed at the end) but it also is about the resilience of these four girls and their love for one another.  If you are a fan of historical fiction or simply interested in all things Russian, I can not recommend this book enough.  4 1/2 stars.

5 comments:

  1. I am going to add this to the TBR. I bet I will slow down towards the end, since we already know how it ends. *Sniffle* Nice review!

    Beth ^_^
    http://sweetbooksnstuff.blogspot.com/

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  2. In 8th grade I was obsessed with the Romonavs, except I don't think I've ever read a book on them. I guess that means I need to add this one to the top of my to-read list.

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  3. Great review. This is going on my library list now. It sounds really good. The story of this family fascinates me.

    Another really, really good fiction book on this historical story is "The Kitchen Boy" by Robert Alexander. I couldn't put it down. Here's a link that describes it from the author's site:
    http://www.sitestories.com/thekitchenboy/
    and I also reviewed it on my book blog in spring of 2011.

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    1. Thanks for the recommendation! I will have to add that to my TBR list.

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  4. I read this book as well and it was the best book I ever read! I love reading about the Romanovs and since there are so many books out there about them it is hard to find the perfect book that potrays the royal family's feelings and struggles very realistically and this was one in a million. I was crying my eyes out by the end, especially at Ananastasia's little moving speech. I knew picking this up that they were going to be killed but I was so engrossed in the grand duchesses lovely personalities, that I cried even more anyway like it was a surprise it was going to happen. It felt like I lost my own sisters! Olga was my favorte of the sisters, so motherly and perseptive although I loved them all and was not prepared to loose any of them. If they were really like this I ponder why Russia would do this to such innocent sisters that just wanted to stay together. If you are considering reading this, do it because it is not a waste of money. This tear jerker tragic tale will find its way into your heart and stay there forever.

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