I must begin this review by saying I am most certainly not a fan of the current Russian regime, in fact I am appalled by it. I was fortunate to visit this extraordinary country and meet its gracious people in 2002 (I will do blog posts on the amazing trip in the future) when it was just learning to embrace its new “freedom” from Communism, well, I’m afraid, that was short lived. Since I’m not a political commentator nor do I like to express negativity in my posts, I shall not bore you with my opinions on how I feel about the Russian government and its involvement in our affairs, but rather turn to the grandeur of the Romanov’s in the 19th century and their ultimate demise.
Tsarina Maria Feodorovna (Dagmar of Denmark)
I found The Romanov Empress to be a fascinating read from cover to cover. The detailed research done by C. W. Gortner is extraordinary. He has, changed some dates and anglicized many of the Russian names, but I felt, having read a lot about the time of Nicholas II and Alexandra and, of course their execution but not much about his parents, he gave us a precise story. I have always been fascinated by Russian history and by now you are aware of my passion for historical novels….this detailed intriguing story did not disappoint me, in fact it makes me want to find more novels and non-fiction about this period in time. I was aware of the intermarriage of the European royals, but this telling put these marriages in perspective. The world, in all ways, was at a major turning point and now, a century plus years later, is still in turmoil. Can we change our destinies, I doubt it, but shouldn’t we learn from history or are we destined to keep making mistakes!!!! Oops, seems a bit deep doesn’t it….perhaps Tzarist thinking! Let’s get to our story….
It is basically a love story of a man and woman who happen to rule Russia and their children and their children’s children. It is also the story of a very strong woman, “Minnie” (the Tsarina), who was instrumental, to a great extent, in forward thinking of women’s rights as well as preserving, above all else, the Romanov dynasty, which she supported, in all ways, until the very end. We learn about her sister’s marriage to Bertie, The Prince of Wales, Queen Victoria, the Russian court, exquisite descriptions of the social protocol of the time, the fashion, much from Charles Frederick Worth, the art, the jewelry, oh the jewelry, and, of course, the palaces. And mostly the pride in upholding the centuries of Romanov rule and then seeing this regime destroy itself….so very sad! Do I recommend the book, yes, yes and yes.
Tsar Alexander III, Tsarina Maria Feodorovna
St. Petersburg late 1900’s
I will definitely read more of Gortner’s novels, I’m considering his Mademoiselle Chanel as an upcoming nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club selection
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Photos found on a Pinterest photo credit unknown.