Thursday, March 20, 2014

Although the title of this book is The Romanov Sisters, the book covers the whole family. A great deal of time is spent on the Tsaritsa, Alexandra, and on Alexis, the Tsarevich. I believe Rappaport intended to treat the girls as individuals, but they are so closely tied they come across as a group.

Alexandra had very strong views on how children should be raised. She was a very private person often pregnant or ill, so she kept the girls close to her. The sisters grew up in an English style nursery environment without the pomp of the Russian court. They had little contact with the outside world or other children. 

I found the lives of these girls fascinating and a little sad. They seemed like lively children with great potential, but their lives were cut short before they had a chance to experience life outside the walls of the palace.

In addition to the Romanov family, the author discusses their English and German relatives, and the character of Gregory Rasputin. Rappaport seems to give Rasputin the benefit of the doubt. If the book is to be believed, he did have a beneficial effect on Alexis' hemophilia. However, Alexandra's reliance on him, and her own very private nature, did the family irreparable harm.

I recommend this book. If you're interested in the history of the last Tsar and his family, you will enjoy this glimpse of of their private life. It's well written, informative and easy to read.

I reviewed this book for Net Galley.