Summary and book 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' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2014, 448 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2015, 544 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

They were the Princess Dianas of their day - perhaps the most photographed and talked about young royals of the early twentieth century. The Romanov Sisters captures the joy as well as the insecurities and poignancy of those young lives.

They were the Princess Dianas of their day - perhaps the most photographed and talked about young royals of the early twentieth century. The four captivating Russian Grand Duchesses - Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia Romanov - were much admired for their happy dispositions, their looks, the clothes they wore and their privileged lifestyle.

Over the years, the story of the four Romanov sisters and their tragic end in a basement at Ekaterinburg in 1918 has clouded our view of them, leading to a mass of sentimental and idealized hagiography. With this treasure trove of diaries and letters from the grand duchesses to their friends and family, we learn that they were intelligent, sensitive and perceptive witnesses to the dark turmoil within their immediate family and the ominous approach of the Russian Revolution, the nightmare that would sweep their world away, and them along with it.

The Romanov Sisters sets out to capture the joy as well as the insecurities and poignancy of those young lives against the backdrop of the dying days of late Imperial Russia, World War I and the Russian Revolution. Rappaport aims to present a new and challenging take on the story, drawing extensively on previously unseen or unpublished letters, diaries and archival sources, as well as private collections. It is a book that will surprise people, even aficionados.

Excerpt
The Romanov Sisters

Although it was mid-March Maria was still very sick and Anastasia had developed such acute earache that her eardrums had had to be pierced to relieve the pressure in them. And then on the 15th Anastasia developed a secondary infection – pleurisy – on a day when Maria's temperature hit almost 105 degrees F. Both children were prostrated by fits of terrible coughing. In a letter to Rita Khitrovo, Tatiana wrote that Anastasia wasn't able to eat either, 'because it all comes back again'. Both her sisters, she said, were 'very patient and lie quietly. Anastasia is still deaf and you have to shout so that she can hear what you're saying to her.' Her own hearing was much better, although she was still having problems with her right ear. She couldn't say much more: 'Remember that they are reading your and my letters.'

By the 18th Maria was so ill that Alexandra sent Anna Vyrubova an anxious note, ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
  • award image

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Helen Rappaport's book is supported by meticulous research and numerous source documents; she recreates the historical period beautifully...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...This is history that reads like an engrossing novel, and once you have made the acquaintance of the four Romonov sisters, you were never, ever forget them.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).

Full Review Members Only (687 words).

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

A gossipy, revealing story of the doomed Russian family's fairy tale life told by an expert in the field.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Readers will be swept up in the author's leisurely yet informative narrative as she sheds new light on the lives of the four daughters.

Reader Reviews

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....   Read More

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 ...   Read More

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 ...   Read More

Judi S. (Lawrenceburg, IN)

Lost Daughters of the Last Tsar
One upon a time there were 4 princesses: Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia But there any resemblance to a traditional fairy tale ends. For these were the daughters of the last Tsar and Tsaritsa of Russia, and the circumstances of their young and ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

The Winter Palace

Winter PalaceFrom 1711 until 1917, the Winter Palace was the home to Russian Tsars, Tsarinas and their families. The need for fortified residences was lessening in the 18th century, and the palaces reflected this shift. Three distinct Winter Palaces were built, torn down and rebuilt until 1754 when the fourth and final palace was created for Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, who was the daughter of Peter the Great. Baroque in style, it sits grandly, on the bank of the Neva River in St. Petersburg. It is a majestic three-story building with a whopping 1786 doors, 1945 windows, 1057 halls and rooms, and 117 staircases. The enormity of the palace clearly symbolized the power of Imperial Russia.

First Winter PalaceThis last Winter Palace was built between 1754 and 1762. ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The Romanov Sisters, try these:

  • The Romanovs jacket

    The Romanovs

    by Simon Sebag Montefiore

    Published 2016

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    The Romanovs were the most successful dynasty of modern times, ruling a sixth of the world's surface for three centuries. How did one family turn a war-ruined principality into the world's greatest empire? And how did they lose it all?

  • Stalin's Daughter jacket

    Stalin's Daughter

    by Rosemary Sullivan

    Published 2016

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    A painstakingly researched, revelatory biography of Svetlana Stalin, a woman fated to live her life in the shadow of one of history's most monstrous dictators—her father, Josef Stalin.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: All We Have Left
    All We Have Left
    by Wendy Mills
    September 11, 2001 is a date that few Americans will ever forget. It was on this day that our ...
  • Book Jacket: A Great Reckoning
    A Great Reckoning
    by Louise Penny
    Canadian author Louise Penny is back with her twelfth entry in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache ...
  • Book Jacket: Homegoing
    Homegoing
    by Yaa Gyasi
    It's all very well to challenge people to be the masters of their own destiny, but when you&#...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Who Said...

The library is the temple of learning, and learning has liberated more people than all the wars in history

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay:
$400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

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

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.