Friday, June 24, 2011

Review: The Lost Crown by Sarah Miller

Title:The Lost Crown
Author:Sarah Miller
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Imprint:Atheneum Books
Pub. Date:06/14/2011
ISBN:1416983406 (ISBN13: 9781416983408)

Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia. Like the fingers on a hand--first headstrong Olga; then Tatiana, the tallest; Maria the most hopeful for a ring; and Anastasia, the smallest. These are the daughters of Tsar Nicholas II, grand dutchesses living a life steeped in tradition and priviledge. They are each on the brink of starting their own lives, at the mercy of royal matchmakers. The summer of 1914 is that precious last wink of time when they can still be sisters together--sisters that link arms and laugh, sisters that share their dreams and worries, and flirt with the officers of their imperial yacht.

But in a gunshot the future changes for these sisters and for Russia.

As World War I ignites across Europe, political unrest sweeps Russia. First dissent, then disorder, mutiny, and revolution. For Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, the end of their girlhood together is colliding with the end of more than they ever imagined.

At the same time hopeful and hopeless, naive and wise, the voices of these sisters become a chorus singing the final song of Imperial Russia. Impeccably researched and utterly fascinating, this novel by acclaimed author Sarah Miller recounts the final days of Imperial Russia with lyricism, criticism and true compassion.

(Summary and cover via Goodreads)

This book covers the last few years of the Romanovs through the eyes of the four daughters- Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia. The start of World War I and the Bolshevik revolution is seen through their eyes. They are very sheltered as Grand Duchesses. They don't really get to see a lot of the world outside their palaces and vacations together. This changes some as the war goes on, and the girls minister to the troops in a local hospital. Soon however, they are caught up in a revolution that forces their father to abdicate. They are taken to Tobolsk and put under house arrest. Later, as Russia becomes more deeply embroiled in civil war, they are taken to Ekatarinburg where they are murdered.

I found it hard to read about these girls know what would happen to them. They come across as very sweet girls who were involved in something much bigger than they were. The point of view switches between each girl throughout the book. Anastasia's sections read as very young. You get a real sense of her personality and joy for life in her sections. There is less difference in the writing of the three older girls, but you still are able to get a sense of their different personalities.

Although the author admits she takes some liberties, I didn't mind. It made for a very interesting story. I wanted to be able to change history and let those girls live their lives for much longer. They had so many hopes and aspirations. As they are walking to the basement in the Ekaterinburg, they have no idea this is the end. It was so sad to read. I think that people who enjoy history, especially Russian history, will find this book very interesting. I know I did. Even though I knew how it was going to end, I found it fascinating to read it all from the girls' perspectives. This book is a great way to see history through the eyes of some major participants.

Galley provided by publisher for review.

No comments: