The Last Romanov

Published September 29, 2012 by myliteraryleanings

Review of The Last Romanov by Dora Levy Mossanen

Overview from www.bn.com:

IN A TIME OF RASPUTIN’S MAGIC AND ROMANOV MYSTERY, A YOUNG GIRL FINDS HERSELF AT THE HEART OF THE ROYAL FAMILY

She was an orphan, ushered into the royal palace on the prayers of her majesty. Yet, decades later, her time spent in the embrace of the Romanovs haunts her still. Is she responsible for those murderous events that changed everything?

If only she can find the heir, maybe she can put together the broken pieces of her own past-maybe she can hold on to the love she found. Bursting to life with the rich and glorious marvels of Imperial Russia, The Last Romanov is a magical tale of second chances and royal blood.

My Review:

I looked forward to reading this book for a while but having other books in line ahead of it, I couldn’t get to it until now. It was a Free Friday offering that sounded like it was right up my alley. I love Historical Fiction and although I generally have little interest in Russian History, I have always been fascinated by the lives of Czar Nicholas II and his family ever since I watched the movie Nicholas and Alexandra in my high school history class. Not only is it a good film but the story of the last czar of Russia before the advent of the Soviet Union makes for an interesting background.

I also watched another film about another famous Romanov who was thought to have survived the massacre of the Romanov family: the Grand Duchess Anastasia. And I am not talking about the cartoon, though I saw that one too.

This movie has a similar premise but the missing Romanov in this case was Alexi, the youngest child and heir to the throne of Nicholas II who suffered from hemophilia. Considering the state of medicine at the time and Alexi’s condition, he struck me as the least likely of the royal family to have survived for very long on his own even if he had somehow managed to escape execution.

However the author weaves a believable story in which Alexi’s unusual governess, Darya Borisovna Spiridova, believes just that and makes the reader believe it with her. Weaving her magic to save the Romanov children, Darya is committed to keeping her charge alive and happy so that he can live long enough to rule for 100 years. Her belief is so strong that Alexi no longer questions it after a few years of Darya’s constant reminders.

Meanwhile Darya falls in love and becomes pregnant with her own child who dies. She wonders secretly if this is her punishment for wanting a child other than Alexi. She alone bears this secret, not even bothering to tell the baby’s father, her Jewish lover, that she was ever even pregnant. She reasons that this is a punishment that she must bear alone and devotes herself even more strongly to keeping Alexi safe and healthy.

Then Rasputin comes into the picture. The strange monk bears the power of hypnosis and discovers much of Darya’s secret past, as well her present and future. She spends much of her time trying to get away from him and wonders how much he knows. Can she trust him to keep her secrets? Can the royal family trust him with the life of their son?

She goes through life feared to be a witch, waiting for her lover to come back to her. After the assignation of the royal family, she decides that her lover is probably not coming back and so she concentrates on finding Alexi. She still believes he is alive and that her magic has saved him. As she continues to hope and look for him, the reader wonders if her faith will be well-founded. That keeps the reader turning to page till the last chapter and whether Darya’s soul can find peace at last.

I liked it a lot though I can’t quite say I loved it, still I do recommend it to fans of Historical Fiction or the Romanov dynasty.

Contains: some foul language, sex, and violence.

Below is a video of the author discussing this book.

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