Monday, November 17, 2014

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming

You’d think if you know how a particular story ends, there would be no reason to read the book.  Right?  What would be the point if you already know what happens to everyone in the story? 

In the case of The Family Romanov: Murder,Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia, you’d be wrong.  Yes, we know what ultimately happens to Russia’s last imperial family--Tsar Nicholas II, the richest, most powerful monarch in the world; the severe, reclusive, deeply religious Empress Alexandra; their four daughters, Olga, Tatiana, Marie, and Anastasia; and son and heir to the throne, Alexei. We know what ultimately happens in Russia. The title of the book spells it all out.

But it’s the unfolding of the story in the masterful hands of Candace Fleming that brings history alive in a way that will keep you furiously turning pages to find out what you already know will happen.

Using numerous primary resources, including diaries, letters and photographs, Fleming paints an intimate, revealing portrait of a ruling family impervious to the calamitous changes unfolding around them.  They live in unfathomable, extravagant splendor, while the vast majority of the Russian people live in deplorable poverty, often without enough food to survive.  Nicholas and Alexandra are remarkably resistant to acknowledging or even seeing the increasing social unrest and upheaval surrounding them.  The children live in a bubble, immature in their isolation and divorced from so many of life’s realities.

If you wrote this story as fiction, people would say it’s too unbelievable.  But you know what they say about truth—how it can be stranger than fiction, etc.  If you enjoy excellent, well-researched, beautifully written historical fiction, read this book.  If you enjoy a riveting tale of politics, fanatics, and international intrigue, read this book.  If you enjoy deeply insightful stories about families and their relationships, read this book.  There is no question that The Family Romanov will end up on many “best of 2014” lists.  Get a head start on everyone and read it now. 

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