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Publisher's Summary

My name is Anastasia.... The history books say I died.... They don’t know the half of it.

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them, and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of saving herself and her family are either to release the spell and deal with the consequences, or to enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya has only dabbled in magic, but it doesn’t frighten her half as much as her growing attraction to Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her.

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad...and he’s on the other.

Praise for Romanov:

“I am obsessed with this book! A magical twist on history that will have Anastasia fans wishing for more. I loved every detail Brandes wrote. If you love magic and Imperial Russia, you want Romanov on your shelf!” (Evelyn Skye)

Romanov will cast a spell on readers and immerse them in a history anyone would long to be a part of.” (Sasha Alsberg)

“If you think you know the story behind Anastasia Romanov, think again! The perfect blend of history and fantasy, Romanov takes a deeper look at the days leading up to the family’s tragedy, while also exploring the possibilities behind the mysteries that have long intrigued history buffs everywhere. Brandes weaves a brilliant and intricate saga of love, loss, and the power of forgiveness. Prepare to have your breath stolen by this gorgeous novel of brilliant prose and epic enchantment.” (Sara Ella)

  • Full-length, stand-alone YA historical reimagining
  • Includes a special bonus chapter!
  • Includes discussion questions for book clubs!
©2019 Nadine Brandes (P)2019 Thomas Nelson

Critic Reviews

"Jessica Ball narrates a reimagining of Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna. In this fantasy, set during the Russian Revolution, the youngest daughter of the last tsar is a spell master who may be her family's only hope for salvation. Ball manages to portray a plethora of emotions - from Nastya's petulance at her family's ongoing imprisonment to her longing and desire for Zash, a Bolshevik soldier who is guarding the family with whom she's having a hidden romance. Later, listeners feel her rage over the assassination of her family and her own murder by Zash. Ball's strong use of accents and varied voices, especially those of the young tsarevich and the older leader of the army, add to a story that will appeal to fans of romance and historical fiction.” (AudioFile magazine)

What listeners say about Romanov

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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Meh...

I was so excited for this book but it was a bummer. I love retellings and was hoping this one would be like that but it truly was not. I didn't care for the magic element in it and after the deaths, the book just didn't do it for me.

44 people found this helpful

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Light in the darkness

My knowledge of the real-life Romanov family before this book was limited. I knew their lives had been ended tragically via execution but didn't know the details until maybe halfway through the book when I got curious enough to research to get a general idea of their story. (Ms. Brandes also has a "What's True and What's Stretched" section in the back of the book that I found interesting.) I should note that I didn't do the research looking to see how accurate this book was. It's a retelling, and a fantasy one at that. Complete accuracy to the original isn't the point here. But like most retellings, authors keep some parts of the original story intact while playing with or removing other parts, and that's what I was wondering about: which parts the author kept and which parts she changed. I found that Ms. Brandes's portrayal of the Romanov family here was more on the idylic side. I personally liked the results. Mostly. I'll talk about the problems I had later, but for now, my favorite part of this story were the themes present because of the family's faith. The theme of Romanov is forgiveness, especially forgiveness of those who have wronged us. Easy to say; difficult to do, especially when our enemies do real, visceral harm to us and our families. In this story, the Romanovs were being held captive by people who treated them badly and would likely kill them at some point in the future, yet the family lived out what true Jesus-like forgiveness looks like. They treated their captors not as enemies to be spat upon in bitterness, but as fellow human beings, created and loved by Jesus, who died for the Bolsheviks just the same as He died for the Romanovs. Because of this, the Romanov's understood that even the lives of their Bolshevik guards had value. "Can their hearts be softened?" "It's not up to you to soften theirs. It's up to you to keep yours soft." So many lovely things to quote in this book. Continuing along the thought about forgiveness, one of the most powerful moments in the book was when Nastya showed mercy on someone terrible who didn't deserve it. I can't detail this due to massive spoilers, but it was a moment that stood in stark contrast to so many "strong female heroines" in YA books these days who wouldn't have hesitated to pull that trigger and get revenge. Don't get me wrong, the choice wasn't easy for Nastya to make, but to quote her own thoughts, "This was my first step toward forgiving [name redacted]. Releasing him from his actions. Tearing his claws from my heart and smashing them to powder. No matter if he was ever repentant or ever regretted [action redacted] that night, I had to forgive him. Otherwise I would perish from the inside out." Her choice was refreshing to say the least and I found myself moved to tears by it. Now to talk about the things I didn't like that much, which mainly revolves around the magic and the violence. I don't have a problem with magic in stories depending on the details of it. If it is sourced from dark spirits and similar such things I am uncomfortable with that and will avoid such books. Thus far Brandes has made up magic systems where the magic is either a natural ability, or at least has no connection to the spiritual realm, so I've been okay with it. In Romanov, in order to do magic one has to have "spell ink" which one puts on the thing or person one wants to do magic on and then say the appropriate word in Russian. I didn't like this as much as the color magic in Fawkes, but didn't necessarily have a problem with it. What I didn't like was that Rasputin was stated to be one of the "spell masters" that taught the Romanov family how to do some magic stuff. Uuuuuh... Rasputin? Wasn't he a massive creep? Brandes did alter the actions of a number of historical people in this story and I got the impression that in this alternate history she perhaps intended that he *wasn't* as much of a creep as he was in real life, and I'll note that he was mentioned in name only, he never was around in person, but still... I would have preferred she leave him out due to the problematic nature of who he was. On the topic of violence, the story of the Romanov family was a violent one in real life and I knew this violence would be reflected in this story as well, things did indeed get very bloody and I would have been bothered by it had I read it with my eyeballs at bedtime when I do most of my reading. Using the audiobook, when it got to the violent parts of the book (the execution and another attempted murder later on) I put it at triple speed, turned the volume low and was able to hear what I needed to hear but easily tune out what I didn't want to hear. Still, I heard enough to say that this book isn't for readers who are very sensitive to bloody violence or darkness. When it comes down to it, Romanov is a difficult book. There is much darkness, pain, and sadness. But there was also much light and hope and love (mostly familial, but also some romantic), and parts that made me happy and reminded me of important Truths. While I can't give it the 5 star rating I'd hoped for, I can still give it a positive 3.5 stars because I think I liked it enough to reread it someday--bearing in mind that I'll be skipping the bits I didn't like. So, in summary, while I had some issues with it and it's not going to be for everyone, overall, I'm glad I read it, I'm glad I own it, and I was ultimately uplifted by it. Quick Note: the quality of the audiobook was excellent. I loved that the narrator did a good Russian accent for the dialog and knew how to pronounce the Russian words I wouldn't have known how to pronounce on my own.

33 people found this helpful

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GOOD NARRATOR, EXCELLENT WRITING TERRIBLE STORY!!!

Great Narration, However, Lacking In Any Real Substantive Plot Or Through Line. So, All-In-All, As Stated In My Header; GOOD NARRATOR, EXCELLENT WRITING TERRIBLE STORY!!!

25 people found this helpful

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Read this book!!

I recommend this book to anyone who has been intrigued by the Romanov story. History, romance, plot twists, heartbreak and adventure.. This book had it all. From the beginning I listened intently as I always do with these types of books but this particular one was special to me for I bear the same name as the Grand Duchess. This will always remain one of my favorite books. You’ve done it again, Nadine. 😭❤️

22 people found this helpful

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Unique and Gripping

This story made me like the Romanovs, magic in itself. It's dark, but not as dark as the history IRL. The magic is simple but works well for the context. Also great narration. I will listen to it again.

16 people found this helpful

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Wonderfully hopeful historical fiction

I loved it so much I started with the Kindle edition and couldn't put it down so I bought the audible to listen in the car!

7 people found this helpful

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Well Read Audiobook

I listened to the audiobook version of the book, and it was really well done. I'm not an expert on what a Russian accent should sound like, but I thought the narrator did a good job of using a hint of a Russian accent without making it sound too faked or forced or overwhelming.

15 people found this helpful

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loved this book.

Did this for a book group. We all really enjoyed it, especially the historic vslue.

6 people found this helpful

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Love this book!

I was a huge fan of Fawkes, so I wasn't sure how I'd feel about Romanov. Oh my goodness, this book had me on the edge of my seat! I laughed with the characters. I cried with the characters. I was completely engrossed in the story. I love how Nadine has a talent to weave a heart-wrenching story with encouraging messages. I can't wait to see what she'll write next!

8 people found this helpful

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Facinating

When you really hope that someone survived and then go on to research the real events, you really grip that novel ending story for survival.

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  • Kathryn
  • 07-12-19

невероятно!

Heart wrenching! Beautiful! Addictive! The ending I wish they really had ❤️ it is so wonderfully written...

1 person found this helpful

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  • Hannah
  • 09-21-19

Loved it!

Absolutely loved it. I find the story of the Romanov so sad but this ending made me feel better