Advance reader reviews of The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport.

The Romanov Sisters

The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra

By Helen Rappaport

The Romanov Sisters
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published in USA  Jun 2014,
    448 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

Page 1 of 3
There are currently 18 member reviews
for The Romanov Sisters
Order Reviews by:
  • Juli S. (Portland, OR)

    More than just the sisters
    Although the title indicates the book is primarily about the four Grand Duchesses it's really about the family. Many books focus on Nicholas, Alexandra and their hemophiliac son, Alexei and the strange monk Rasputin. This book almost makes Alexei a background presence but the girls' parents and particularly their mother are very much a part of it.

    While venturing into some different territory it's still limited by the limited information about some rather sheltered and isolated young women. It's hard to feel like the girls are truly known any better but it was still an interesting book. I would not necessarily recommend it as an entry into the tragic story of this family but for people like me who are interested in the history of the Romanovs it's an interesting perspective.
  • Patricia G. (Dyer, IN)

    The Romanov Sisters
    Helen Rapport provides a meticulous, superbly researched view into the daily lives of Nicholas and Alexandra . . . and their five children. The contrast between the turmoil and dangers of the outside world and the insolated bubble which was the Tsar's household is astonishing, but remarkably familiar. The children grow before the reader's eyes; they are active, passionate, mischievous. Their mother and father hover over them, protect them, and provide for them what seems like an impossibly "normal" environment in the midst of all of the intrigue surrounding the throne and the "almost" well-kept secret of Alexey's hemophilia.

    The final collision of the two worlds is, of course, a tragic, history-changing moment in world politics. But Rappaport always remembers the real people in each moment of this remarkable biography--she never allows any of the family to become abstract symbols or ephemeral ghosts.
  • Martha S. (Mentor, OH)

    The Romanov Sisters
    What a story! Most know this royal family was murdered in Russia in 1918. Helen Rapport's book on the Romanov family intertwines Russian history and the royal family. Yes, the children were brought up in luxurious surroundings but lived simple lives. They were also secluded from the world. This was what I thought was most interesting. The four daughters lead austere lives, focusing on family time, chores, and duty to their parents and country. They were very "innocent" in a society where being active socially was expected. These girls preferred to be with each other but made friends with everyone. Status was not important, although they certainly knew their family status and knew what was expected of them. This is not a summer "beach read" but it will hold your attention.
  • Melinda W. (Los Angeles, CA)

    A very fine, is slightly dry, history of the Romanov's
    I have to admit I had a hard time getting into this book, because it started far before the "Romonav" sisters - it started with the upbringing of their mother (and I accidently thought the prolougue, which was kind of dry was part of the actual book and that took me a little while to get through). However, as the tragic end of the family became evident, their bravery, and humanity, brought life to the book. The book is a great documentary of the factual events surrounding the death (murder really) of the Royal Family and the beginning of the rise of Communism. However, perhaps because the writer was so fixed on accuracy, instead of storytelling, it was not my favorite accounting of the period. However, I did learn a lot that I will not soon forget.
  • Shirley P. (Colorado Springs, CO)

    The Romanov Sisters
    Ever since reading "Nicholas and Alexandria" published in the 1970's, I have been fascinated by the Romanov family and their tragic deaths. It is amazing that Helen Rappaport has been able to write two sagas about this family. This book is well-written and eminently readable, describing a family, lovely and loved young women and the world that surrounded their tragic ends. With the relatively new information that, indeed, all perished at the same time, it is poignant to read of their living and the details that formed their too brief time on this earth. The book excels in informing the reader of the world events, which led to this family's death and the all too momentous events which followed the end of the Romanov's and Russia's history.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
  • Dona N. (San Rafael, CA)

    Intimate and Haunting: The Romanov Mystique
    Having been fascinated by the Romanov family for a very long time I have read many books about them and this period of Russian history. I was very interested to read "The Romanov Sisters" and gain further insight into Olga, Tatiana, Marie, and Anastasia. Helen Rappaport's book is supported by meticulous research and numerous source documents; she recreates the historical period beautifully. While I very much enjoyed the reading experience and being back in this period of history, I am not sure that I learned anything new or revealing about the sisters. Alexandra's family background and role as a mother was particularly interesting and almost overshadowed the sisters' story at times. As well, Alexei and his illness often took center stage and was distracting. While presenting an historical context is necessary to understanding the Romanov family, I would have liked to have seen more personal information and less focus on the country's difficulties. While the diaries and journals were interesting, the excepts from them were redundant and not very diverse. Sadly, I've come to the conclusion that we may never really know much more about this enigmatic family. As the author reports, almost all the personal writings of the family were destroyed as the revolutionaries swept in and took control. The Romanovs perished over 100 years ago in a country that has since been tumultuous and unbalanced and I wonder if our ability to garner any greater insight into the Romanovs is limited. In short, I liked the book very much as another look at the Romanov family. Whether it provided greater insight into the personal lives of the daughters is dubious.
  • Rita H. (Centennial, CO)

    The Romanov Sisters: Fascinating
    I found the Romanov Sisters to be a fascinating, engaging and extremely well- researched (61 pages of footnotes) account of the lives of the four daughters of Tzar Nicolas and Tsaritsa Alexandra. The book begins with the marriage of Nicolas and Alexander and my sympathy was immediately captured by the beautiful Alexandra who was loved so dearly by Nicolas but never really understood by the Russian people. She had the misfortune of giving birth to four daughters before giving birth to a male heir in an age when women were thought responsible for the sex of the child and royal succession in Russia went only to males. This misfortune was multiplied as Alexandra carried the hemophilia gene and passed this on to her son. Of course, this was seen as Alexandra's fault, not the fault of the centuries of incestuous royal in-breeding of European royalty. However, the book really focuses on Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, the four daughters, and their sheltered, isolated and simple lives in a family that identified itself first as a loving family, secondly, as a royal family. What I, personally, could not escape from the beginning, was an awful emotional sorrow as I knew what would happen to these children before they could reach adulthood. I, also, realized while reading this book that the older girls were actually of an age when they could have been expected to be married and safe from their fate and I found myself very curious as to why this had not occurred.

    I believe that my enjoyment of the book was also enhanced by the fact that I have been fortunate enough to visit and walk in the four palaces featured in the book: Livadia in Crimea, Peterhof, the Winter Palace and Tsarskoe Selo (Catherine's Palace). Additionally, my grandmother told me she once saw Nicolas and Alexandra when she was growing up in Russia. These personal factors made it easy for me to identify with the events and people of this book. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in history, especially, Russian history. My only regret is that since I read an advance copy, it is devoid of the illustrations mentioned in the acknowledgements and, therefore, I shall have to seek a hard copy of the book when published so that I can enjoy these.
  • Page
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Hundred-Year House
    The Hundred-Year House
    by Rebecca Makkai
    Rebecca Makkai's sophomore novel The Hundred-Year House could just have easily been titled ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"

    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...
  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Arsonist
by Sue Miller

Published Jun. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  132Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist


Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.