Friday, June 19, 2015

The Romanov Sisters - Helen Rappaport

The Romanov Sisters
Title: The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra
Author: Helen Rappaport
Publication Date: 1/1/14
Pages: 381
How I Found It: Sophisticated Dorkiness
Date Completed: 5/4/15

Summary: Packed with interesting information, this nonfiction tome delves into the short lives of Russia's last princesses.

What I Thought: My royal obsession continues.

Back in elementary school, I remember being entranced by the story of Anatasia and her doomed family. I checked out the same book from our local library over and over as if I expected it to reveal further secrets about the Romanovs with each successive perusal. I imagine this all stemmed from the foray 20th Century Fox took into animated features. The film Anastasia contains virtually no historically accurate content but does offer some great music.

*stops singing* Ahem. Yes, so the real history....

Rappaport's extensive look into the lives of the four Russian princesses is the scoop for which elementary Alise was looking. The book captures the daily life of Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia (along with their parents and brother Alexei) with historical record, family correspondence, and lots of anecdotal stories. While I craved information on Anastasia as a girl, as an adult, I found the lives of Olga and Tatiana far more interesting.

The two older sisters proved far more of an anomaly in my mind. By the time of the war and revolution, both could have been married or at least well experienced in the Russian social scene. The family remained notoriously private, perhaps ultimately to their own detriment. I wish history had left us more insight into the girls' true feelings about their social lives, the expectations laid on them by birth, and their dreams for the future. Rappaport gives us what she can, but she cannot report on what is not known.

The book is extensive without being too dry. As with any such work, there were portions I found more of a struggle to get through; those, however, were few and far between. Overall, I found the book to be a fascinating look into hte lives of the "it" princesses from 100 years ago. They were the Kate Middletons of their day in many ways. Or, perhaps in a more apt comparison, the Princess Dianas; their ends, after all, were certainly equally tragic as that of the People's Princess.

Rating: ★★★★☆
Will I Re-Read: Maybe some day

A Reduced Review: An in-depth look into the lives of Russia's four lost princesses.

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