Published by St. Martin's Press on 6/3/2014
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Throughout the early twentieth century, the four daughters of Russia’s Tsar Nicholas II held not only royal status, but also that of modern-day celebrities. Though the details of their daily lives were hidden from the public eye, people throughout the world clamored for information about the girls’ clothing, schooling and prospects for marriage. When their young lives were cut short in 1918, portions of their history were lost as well. In The Romanov Sisters, Helen Rappaport blends diaries and letters with years of research to form a complete portrait of the four Russian Grand Duchesses.
Though countless books have picked apart the lives and deaths of the Romanov family, few have focused so intently on the girls. Starting with the courtship of Nicholas and Alexandra and weaving through to the family’s final moments, The Romanov Sisters turns a close lens on the once hidden daily lives of Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia. In some sections, as Rappaport closely documents the girls’ day-to-day activities, the weight of the book’s 512 pages can feel daunting. However, it does provide readers with a clear sense of the repetitive, secluded life the Romanov sisters were living.
“Later, when Mariya Geringer – the tsaristsa’s senior lady-in-waiting, charged with caretaking the palace after their departure – arrived, the hungry creatures emerged like wraiths from the shadows and hurled themselves at her, wailing for attention. But all forty doors of the rooms inside had been sealed; the palace kitchens were closed; everything was locked. Only the cats remained in a deserted Alexander Park, the last remnants of a family now heading hundreds of miles east into Siberia.”
The Romanov Sisters is a dense, wonderfully researched book capable of thrilling long time Romanov fans while introducing new readers to their secrets.