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The Last Grand Duchess: Book summary and reviews of The Last Grand Duchess by Bryn Turnbull

The Last Grand Duchess

A Novel of Olga Romanov, Imperial Russia, and Revolution

by Bryn Turnbull

The Last Grand Duchess by Bryn Turnbull X
The Last Grand Duchess by Bryn Turnbull
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Book Summary

This sweeping novel takes readers behind palace walls to see the end of Imperial Russia through the eyes of Olga Nikolaevna Romanov, the first daughter of the last tsar.

Grand Duchess Olga Romanov comes of age amid a shifting tide for the great dynasties of Europe. But even as unrest simmers in the capital, Olga is content to live within the confines of the sheltered life her parents have built for her and her three sisters: hiding from the world on account of their mother's ill health, their brother Alexei's secret affliction, and rising controversy over Father Grigori Rasputin, the priest on whom the tsarina has come to rely. Olga's only escape from the seclusion of Alexander Palace comes from the grand tea parties her aunt hosts amid the shadow court of Saint Petersburg—a world of opulent ballrooms, scandalous flirtation, and whispered conversation.

But as war approaches, the palaces of Russia are transformed. Olga and her sisters trade their gowns for nursing habits, assisting in surgeries and tending to the wounded bodies and minds of Russia's military officers. As troubling rumors about her parents trickle in from the front, Olga dares to hope that a budding romance might survive whatever the future may hold. But when tensions run high and supplies run low, the controversy over Rasputin grows into fiery protest, and calls for revolution threaten to end three hundred years of Romanov rule.

At turns glittering and harrowing, The Last Grand Duchess is a story about dynasty, duty, and love, but above all, it's the story of a family who would choose devotion to each other over everything—including their lives.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The Last Grand Duchess is a powerful and haunting ode to the tragic life of Olga Romanov. Turnbull's sweeping novel illuminates the fall of the Romanovs in an intimate and unforgettable tale that transports the reader to the heart of Imperial Russia. A poignant, engrossing story that historical fiction readers will love!" —Chanel Cleeton, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba

"From Saint Petersburg to Siberia, sweeping back and forth in time, Bryn expertly weaves together an all-consuming story of The Russian Revolution and the fall of the House of Romanovs. The Last Grand Duchess features a true heroine who displays courage and grace in the face of war, making sacrifices of the heart in the name of family and country loyalty. Historical fiction fans will devour this one!" —Renée Rosen, USA TODAY bestselling author of Park Avenue Summer

"Olga proves time and again that she was a woman ahead of her time, a woman who, heartbreakingly, could have given so much to Russia, her family and the man she loved if only she was given the chance. A gorgeously told tale." —Natasha Lester, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Secret

"From glittering palaces to field hospitals, privilege to prison life, Bryn Turnbull portrays the downfall of a royal family with clarity, empathy, and intimacy. THE LAST GRAND DUCHESS reads like a symphony, the last notes of the Romanovs vanishing with a staggering and tragic beauty." —Erika Robuck, National bestselling author of The Invisible Woman

"Haunting and beautiful. Turnbull's take on the Olga Romanov story will leave you hopeful that love does triumph over all." —Kaia Alderson, author of Sisters in Arms

"Ambitious and intimate, violent and tender, Bryn Turnbull's The Last Grand Duchess pulls aside some heavy curtains on Russia's history, spotlighting the tragically human characters in this royal drama. Olga Romanov is seared into my heart as the best kind of tragic heroine, one who fights and loves with every fiber of her being, even in the face of mortal danger. A deeply absorbing read." —Kerri Maher, author of The Paris Bookseller

"The Last Grand Duchess is the enthralling, beautifully written account of the fall of one of the world's most powerful dynasties. As Grand Duchess Olga Romanov is torn from the glittering excess of St. Petersburg ballrooms and thrust into the tragedy and hardship of war, she finds a strength and courage that few possess. A complex, heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting story that will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned." —Christine Wells, author of Sisters of the Resistance

"Bryn Turnbull brings the Romanov family to vivid life, weaving a captivating, tragic tale that is at once sweeping and intimate. Deeply researched and beautifully written, this story humanizes Olga Romanov as she navigates the mounting tensions wrought between family and country, faith and politics, fate and free will. I found myself reading this novel long into the night, spellbound, the pages all but turning themselves. A must read!" —Kristin Beck, author of Courage, My Love

This information about The Last Grand Duchess 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

Write your own review

Sooz

Olga Romanov-The Last Grand Duchess
Despite having to frequently check back to a 4-1/2 page listing of characters, this fascinating saga of Olga Romanov and her extended family held my interest throughout.
As the eldest of four daughters and one son, Olga (the last Grand Duchess), felt responsible for the various needs of the family, a job she did admirably. I feel that readers will empathize with Olga twice falling in love with men below her royal station thus negating her chance of marriage.
Readers should be prepared to accept the reality of the many hardships faced by Olga and the rest of the Tsar's family once the Revolution escalated and their lifestyle underwent a radical change.
Even if readers already know the tragic ending of the entire Romanov family, many of the events that take place beforehand abound in the chapters of this book.
I recommend this book to Russian history buffs plus anyone interested in learning more details about the Romanov family.

Beverly

A New Perspective
Finally an historical fiction that doesn't focus on Anastasia. Olga, the oldest daughter of the last Tsar of Russia is presented as more than just another "royal"; instead she is a thinking, wondering young woman whose expectations of a normal life will never happen. Based on multiple non-fiction sources, including the diaries of Olga, we are better able to examine and maybe understand how and why the Russian Revolution came about from a purely personal perspective. Easily read, highly recommended for any fan of historical fiction.

Miriam B. (Lakewood Ranch, FL)

The Last Grand Duchess
I really wanted to like/love this book but could not get into it. I love the cover and was excited to read about Olga Romanov and the fall of the Tsar and the Russian revolution. I did not care for the back and forth telling of the story and just did not care about any of the characters. I usually love historical fiction but this was not for me.

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Author Information

Bryn Turnbull Author Biography

Photo: Louise Claire Johnson

When she was eleven years old, Bryn Turnbull accidentally put her foot through a single-pane window while leafing through a well-worn copy of Sandman (Volume 2). The incident, which resulted in a trip to the hospital, five stitches, and a unique application of superglue, taught her two things: one, that reading is not, and should not be attempted as, a full-contact sport; and two, that writers can create worlds within a book so absorbing, so completely and utterly all-encompassing, that they can drive readers to such distraction as to forget the outside world entirely.

​ Today, Bryn is a writer of historical fiction. Equipped with a Master of Letters in Creative Writing from the University of St. Andrews and a Bachelor's degree in English Literature from McGill University, Bryn, ...

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