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15 May 2011

The Lost Crown

The Romanov family, one of history's greatest mysteries and one of history's most well known families, is explored in this June 14 release by Sarah Miller.

Here is the summary 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 dutchesses living a life steeped in tradition and priviledge. 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.

Starting in 1914, it follows the Romanov family though blissful summer trips, to the start of WWI, to the death (murder) of Rasputin, to the Bolshevik Revolution and Tsar Nicolas' abdication, to their incarceration and eventual murder.

I liked how this book was written as though each of the Grand Duchesses were writing a chapter.  I did find that if I stopped in the middle of the chapter, I forgot who was writing, but I learned to stop at the end of a chapter quick enough.  Because each daughter "wrote" a chapter, I felt like the reader got a more personal, human feel for each girl.   

I could tell that Miller spent a lot of time checking and rechecking her facts and details.  Of course, since she wasn't there, liberties were taken, but I believe the back matter (epilogue or whatever you'd like to call it) states that she did it based on what she had researched, cultural norms of the time, etc.  

I did find that the book jumped around and as I said, I could easily forget which Grand Duchess was writing the chapter.  I thought the book would be a little more exciting than it actually was, but it wasn't bad, which is why I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads. 

*Note:  I downloaded this book for free via Simon & Schuster's GalleyGrab program.  I will be sending them copies of this review.*

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