They were the Princess Dianas of their day - perhaps the most photographed and talked about young royals of the early 20th 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 Helen Rappaport aims to present a new and challenging take on the story, drawing extensively on previously unseen or unpublished letters, diaries, and archival sources, as well as private collections.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.
©2014 Helen Rappaport (P)2014 Macmillan Audio
So enjoy the Romanov Family and the lives they lived, so close and loving, I have been to where they died and have been interested in their lives and was not disappointed by the book. It is a window into the life and people of Russia.
The Russian Revolution was a part of world history I was not overly knowledgeable about, and found fascinating from the viewpoint of the Imperial Family. Meticulously researched and wonderfully written, and performed with such empathy never crossing over to melodrama. One of the best audiobooks I've ever listened to.
It took me a little bit to get into this book but once I did I was hooked. The bad thing about reading a book about the Romanov’s is you know the ending and this book endeared me to the family and I really wanted it to end differently.
These girls were very sheltered and this book didn’t feel like it concentrated on just the girls, it’s a story about the entire family. Really what else can you say, everyone knows the story but to get some of these intimate details was interesting. And even though you know the ending it is still so sad!
I am a huge fan of Xe Sands and while I did enjoy her narration it felt different than other books I have listened to by her, not bad, just different to me , that may be because it’s a different genre I’m not sure. I felt like this had been sped up compared to the way Xe usually reads. But I thought she did a great job with all the names and pronunciations this book was a huge undertaking and I will always pick the audio over paper when she is narrating.
On a little aside it was neat getting a background on the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich who about 20 or so years after this book dated Coco Chanel (I recently read Mademoiselle Chanel) so hearing his name meant more to me than it would of if I hadn’t read about him and Coco.
This was a good book about the Romanov’s it’s not just about the sisters but about the family as a whole and I would recommend to anyone who likes Russian History.
Not so much, the lives of this familty and the girls are way over romaticized. And the reader, though excellent becomes over sappy. The story completey leaves out the resposibility of the family as monarchs and how they utterly failed.
The ending is so tragic however, could it have possible been dragged out any longer than in this book!?!?
She is a strong reader.
I am a lifelong lover of books. I got my degree in English & worked in the publishing business for many years. Now I work with wildlife.
It was all I could do to get through this book. I have to give Helen Rappaport a lot of credit for writing such an interesting book, as the narration was simply terrible. Xe Sands narrated with a very affected, disinterested voice. I would not know if her Russian was pronounced correctly, but she certainly got a lot of English words wrong. The book itself is interesting and I was glad that it was not just about the four sisters, but rather more about the family. If I were doing this again, I would definitely get the hardbound edition and skip the Audible version.
wow these children went through a lot in their life and through it all they still remained upbeat and Princess like.. I still can't believe how their life ended and how they were imprisoned for soo long. I liked this story cause it told me more of their day to day activities, and I like how most of this story was written from a diary of people who played a major part in the murder of this whole family and the people close to them. it's a good read.
I read "Nicholas and Alexandra" many years ago and became fascinated by the Romanov family. The lives of Peter, Catherine, Russka,(by Edward Rutherfurd), etc. followed. Recently, I was lucky to visit their three magnificent palaces and sadly also, their tombs. This account of their lives was even more moving to me, hearing their own words through their letters. Russia was ripe for a revolution at that time, but their ineptitude, superstition, isolation from reality surely did not help in their tragic end. These girls (and Alex) lived a "bittersweet" short life in their gilded palaces and it would not be fair to criticise their lives with our 21st century knowledge.
I was prepared to love this book. instead i found myself constantly annoyed with the seemingly endless obsession with everyone looking and feeling fabulous, and endless descriptions of how people looked, what they wore, and romantic platitudes about their disposition which didn't help me get to know the real people underneath the glorifying facade....it felt gossipy and all this royal watching detail seemed to bury what I imagine is a powerful and tragic story with real people underneath...i may have not gotten far enough into the book to give this a fair shot...but after 5 hrs I had to abandon it....
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