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The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandraby Helen Rappaport
Synopses & Reviews
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 Helen Rappaport aims to present a new and challenging take on the story, drawing extensively on previously unseen or unpublished letters, diaries and archival sources, as well as private collections.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.
"The lives of the four daughters — Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia — of Nicholas and Alexandra, Tzar and Tzarina of Imperial Russia, have been both sentimentalized and overlooked in the years since the Russian Revolution. Nonetheless, the politics of the court were such that they affected all members of the royal family, particularly through WWI and the Russian Revolution, which claimed the lives of the Romanovs. Rappaport (Magnificent Obsession), a specialist on Russian and 19th-century women's history, works chronologically — a necessary step in understanding court intricacies and the major players involved — beginning with Alice, Princess of Hesse and daughter of Queen Victoria of England, whose own daughter, Alix, was to become the Empress of Russia. Rappaport details the difficulties leading up to the marriage of Alexandra to then tsarevich Nicholas, the birth of their children, and how the Romanov sisters blossomed into charming, capable, and affectionate young ladies. 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) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Helene Rappaport studied Russian at Leeds University and is a specialist in Russian and nineteenth-century women's history. She lives in Oxford.
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