The Last Tiara: Book summary and reviews of The Last Tiara by M.J. Rose

The Last Tiara

by M.J. Rose

The Last Tiara by M.J. Rose X
The Last Tiara by M.J. Rose
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Book Summary

From New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller M.J. Rose comes a provocative and moving story of a young female architect in post-World War II Manhattan, who stumbles upon a hidden treasure and begins a journey to discovering her mother's life during the fall of the Romanovs.

Sophia Moon had always been reticent about her life in Russia and when she dies, suspiciously, on a wintry New York evening, Isobelle despairs that her mother's secrets have died with her. But while renovating the apartment they shared, Isobelle discovers something among her mother's effects—a stunning silver tiara, stripped of its jewels.

Isobelle's research into the tiara's provenance draws her closer to her mother's past—including the story of what became of her father back in Russia, a man she has never known. The facts elude her until she meets a young jeweler, who wants to help her but is conflicted by his loyalty to the Midas Society, a covert international organization whose mission is to return lost and stolen antiques, jewels, and artwork to their original owners.

Told in alternating points of view, the stories of the two young women unfurl as each struggles to find their way during two separate wars. In 1915, young Sofiya Petrovitch, favorite of the royal household and best friend of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna, tends to wounded soldiers in a makeshift hospital within the grounds of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg and finds the love of her life. In 1948 New York, Isobelle Moon works to break through the rampant sexism of the age as one of very few women working in a male-dominated profession and discovers far more about love and family than she ever hoped for.

In M.J. Rose's deftly constructed narrative, the secrets of Sofiya's early life are revealed incrementally, even as Isobelle herself works to solve the mystery of the historic Romanov tiara (which is based on an actual Romanov artifact that is, to this day, still missing)—and how it is that her mother came to possess it. The two strands play off each other in finely-tuned counterpoint, building to a series of surprising and deeply satisfying revelations.

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Media Reviews

"With several intertwining mysteries and a nod to romance, this historical tale of the demise of Mother Russia, a hidden treasure, and long lost love illustrates how the wounds of war can leave a hole in the truth despite a mother's love and best intentions." - Booklist

"Engrossing...chronicles a New York City architect's quest to unravel the mystery behind a tiara she finds hidden in a wall of her late mother's Manhattan apartment in 1948...a wonderfully twisty plot...that keeps the reader wanting to know more. Fans of Russian history and art will find much to appreciate in this winning story." - Publishers Weekly

"Filled with strong female characters, striking plot twists, and heartrending romance, The Last Tiara is historical fiction as its very best. I highly recommend it." - Fiona Davis, New York Times-bestselling author author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue

"This is the book we all need now. In this lush, romantic, expertly-crafted tale of hidden jewels and family secrets, M.J. Rose transports us to 1915 Russia and 1948 New York, to entwine the lives of two strong women. I disappeared into this story and didn't want to come back."​ - Wendy Webb, bestselling author of The Haunting of Brynn Wilder

This information about The Last Tiara shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Nancy D

A tale of Russia in the first 50 years of the 20th Century
Having not read any of Rose's books before, I didn't know what to expect. What I got was a book rich in the history of 20th century Russia before 1950 with touches of mystery, art history, and romance. Although to me many times using different narrators in different time periods seems contrived, in this book it works beautifully. Sit back, relax, and be transported into other eras as you read this book.

Carmel B. (The Villages, FL)

Romanov or Bolshevik?
Intriguing storyline progressing along two tracks, one during WWI and the Russian Civil War in Petrograd and the other after WWII in New York. Readers who enjoy historical fiction mixed in with mystery, romance and a touch of class will thoroughly enjoy this novel. We learn a great deal about the Romanovs and the Bolshevik Revolution, as well as what it must have been like to be an émigré to America during that time or, perhaps, because of that time. The climax reminds me of a Dan Brown novel, fast-paced and full of surprising detours across continents and into underground lairs. This story is also reminiscent of "Dr. Zhivago" in its depiction of Russia and its citizenry's trauma and heart ache. Lots of intrigue to keep us turning the pages and a fascinating ending.

Bill B

Good Historical Fiction
This is my first book by Ms Rose. I’m impressed. Very good historical fiction tackling numerous subjects and having two strong heroines in it’s dual storylines.
You tell me that part of the book is set in Russia during the revolution and I think “confusion and a boring plot”. Not here. The setting is detailed and well done. The story is fast paced and the characters are interesting. I always wanted to read the next chapter
When the story moves to NYC in the late 40’s, early 50’s it is equally well done. The glass ceiling for women in business, the development of Oak Ridge and the A bomb are going to interest you and probably many book clubs. ,
It’s everything you want in historical fiction, good story, good setting, you learn something.
Good job M.J.
I highly recommend it.

Barry E. (Boynton Beach, FL)

Just a pleasure
Having never read any of MJ Rose's works I went in not knowing what to suspect. What I found was a historical mystery well written, heart wrenching full of witticism, romance, and informative. Rose's command of how a women thinks when used was superb and her definitions of many nuances of interpretation of life experiences were most interesting. I found myself taking some notes, looking up words, and just overall enthralled with the story.

Mary B. (Laguna Woods, CA)

2 romances and a mystery
This book tells the story of a painting restorer in Russia in the 1920's and her daughter's search for answers about her parents after her mother dies in 1948 having told her very little about her life before immigrating to New York. There are interesting facts about the Hermitage and the Bolsevics and about the difficulties women faced as architects in 1940's. The mystery is how the mother came to own the last tiara Faberge designed and made for the Tzar.

Becky H

The Last Tiara
The Russian Revolution plays a large part in this tale of love, betrayal, family, jewels, secrets, privilege and glass ceilings. Like Russian novels, this one has twists, turns, blind corners and secrets galore. Sofia, a young art restorer in Tsarist Russia, is friends with the Tsar’s daughters, Olga and Tatiana. All three volunteer as nurses as WWI encroaches on St. Petersburg and their life of wealth and privilege. In hospital Sofia meets a young soldier who suffers from amnesia. That is where the joys and struggles and secrets begin only to later crop up in 1948 in New York City.
The main characters are, with one exception, clearly drawn and true to themselves throughout. Rose has done her homework and it shows in her descriptions of Tsarist Russia and later the New York architectural, fine jewelry and social scene. Her descriptions of Faberge and the gem studded works they created are spot on. Her depiction of women in the field of architecture shows the glass ceiling in stunning detail.
A lovely novel that book groups will enjoy discussing.

...12 more reader reviews

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Author Information

M.J. Rose Author Biography

M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother's favorite books before she was allowed. She believes mystery and magic are all around us but we are too often too busy to notice... Books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it.

Rose is a New York Times, Wall St. Journal and USAToday bestseller as well as an international best seller. She has published more than nineteen novels and 3 books on marketing. She has been published in more than 30 countries and sold over 1.5 million books. The Fox TV show Past Lives was based on Rose's novel, The Reincarnationist.

Rose is a founding member of International ...

... Full Biography
Link to M.J. Rose's Website

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