The Romanov Sisters
The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra
By Helen Rappaport
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9781250020208, 512pp.)
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
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A New York Times Bestseller for 12 weeks!
"Helen Rappaport paints a compelling portrait of the doomed grand duchesses." —People magazine
"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." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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. Helen Rappaport aims to present a new and challenging take on the story, drawing extensively on previously unseen or unpublished letters, diaries and archival sources, as well as private collections.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.
HELEN RAPPAPORT studied Russian at Leeds University and is a specialist in Russian and nineteenth-century women’s history. She lives in Oxford.
"Rappaport paints a compelling portrait of Tatiana, Olga, Maria and Anastasia" — People
"A gossipy, revealing story of the doomed Russian family’s fairy tale life told by an expert in the field." —Kirkus Reviews
"In their time, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia were depicted in international accounts as a cute, indistinguishable quartet. But Rappaport brings out each one’s character and does it neatly, with a fine touch. . . . While we know that the family’s fate will be tragic, the girls don’t, and Rappaport, with a light hand and admiring eyes, allows the four Grand Duchesses to grow on us as they grow up." —Christian Science Monitor
"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." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"The haunting cover photograph of the Romanov sisters will draw readers, and the extensive bibliography will aid those who want to learn more." —Booklist
“As shocking and immediate as a thriller... [A] gripping read.”—People magazine (3 ½ stars) on The Last Days of the Romanovs
“Rappaport offers an absorbing, perceptive, and detailed picture of a constitutional monarchy in crisis.” —Publishers Weekly on A Magnificent Obsession
“An absorbing account of the making of a queen through her awful, protracted grief.”—Kirkus Reviews on A Magnificent Obsession
“Quite simply, stunning. . . . Chilling and poignant, this is how history books should be written.” —Alison Weir, author of Henry VIII: The King and His Court on The Last Days of the Romanovs
“A fluid and astute writer, Rappaport delivers a historically discerning portrait of Victoria in the 1860s.” —Booklist on A Magnificent Obsession