Synopses & Reviews
This sweeping saga recreates the extraordinary opulence and violence of Tsarist Russia as the shadow of revolution fell over the land, and destroyed a way of life for these Imperial women
The early 1850s until the late 1920s marked a turbulent and significant era for Russia. During that time the country underwent a massive transformation, taking it from days of grandeur under the tsars to the chaos of revolution and the beginnings of the Soviet Union.
At the center of all this tumult were four women of the Romanov dynasty. Marie Alexandrovna and Olga Constantinovna were born into the family, Russian Grand Duchesses at birth. Marie Feodorovna and Marie Pavlovna married into the dynasty, the former born a Princess of Denmark, the latter a Duchess of the German duchy of Mecklendburg-Schwerin.
In From Splendor to Revolution, we watch these pampered aristocratic women fight for their lives as the cataclysm of war engulfs them. In a matter of a few short years, they fell from the pinnacle of wealth and power to the depths of danger, poverty, and exile. It is an unforgettable epic story.
“Independent historian Gelardi has done her homework, drawing on an impressive array of primary and secondary sources to deliver a joint biography of four women who were part of Russias imperial dynasty in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. . . . Against the backdrop of a tumultuous period in Russian history, this is really a book about an extended family, with a familys sorrows, joys, squabbles, and scandals, albeit on a very grand scale. . . . this is an absorbing account that will appeal to Russian history buffs and to those who enjoy reading about royals.”—Booklist“Relating the drama and tragedy of royal life, Gelardi ably weaves in the extended family ties that connected most European rulers, including Queen Victoria, while also including helpful genealogy charts. Gelardis narrative framework of the four Romanov womens long lives works well to explain not only the realties of the European courts and alliances but also the unique aspects of the Russian dynasty, which suffered repeated assassination attempts even during the age of splendor, resulting in young Nicholas IIs observation of his grandfathers murder, possibly hastening Russias slide to revolution.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Gelardi does an exceptional job of relating the last years of the Romanovs via the formerly underutilized perspectives of the women behind the men. While Orlando Figess Natashas Dance: A Cultural History of Russia used Tolstoys War and Peace as its framework, telling some of the same story, Gelardi offers a more richly detailed account, sure to captivate those with a deep interest in Russian and interrelated European history. Highly recommended.”—Library Journal
About the Author
JULIA P. GELARDI is the author of Born to Rule and In Triumphs Wake. She is an independent historian, currently living in Minnesota with her husband and two daughters.