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Into this engrossing scenario stepped the infamous and sinister Grigory Rasputin, the sole person with the power to stop Prince Alexei from bleeding to death. At eleven and struggling, as I would for many more years, with the disappearance of my father when I was a baby, I found the idea of a dark, mysterious priest whose presence granted life and whose absence left a child vulnerable to annihilation irresistible. For me, the prince’s disease--and the faith healer who could control it--was the key to the Romanovs’ ruin. Their execution in a basement in Siberia seemed a redundancy; after Rasputin was assassinated I knew they were doomed.
I reread Nicholas and Alexandra in my early twenties, and I never forgot the story. Rasputin in particular continued to haunt me, and when I discovered his elder daughter had escaped Russia and eventually became a successful lion-tamer, I was drawn back into what had been familiar territory. Too, my understanding of the collapse of the Russian Empire changed once I learned Rasputin had had children of his own, the eldest of whom toured the United States as the “Daughter of the Mad Monk Whose Feats in Europe Astonished the World.” Not only was I was seduced by the story all over again, now I had a way of entering the Romanov’s world: through a passionate young woman who loved a father whose flaws she accepted, and who had her own vantage from which to view the Romanovs and the Revolution.
Of course, once I’d followed my heroine into the Alexander Palace, it was only a matter of time before she fell in love. Though Masha couldn’t fulfill the tsarina’s hope that the daughter of Rasputin could do as her father had done and protect Alexei from injury, she could provide him the solace of her company. Finding magic and romance in the least likely of places, Masha transforms the prince’s bleak vision of the world crumbling around him. Their time together is short--only a few months--but her gift for story-telling transports the two of them to an imagined realm of endless possibility, a world in which they live out the fairytale endings the real world cannot promise.
Enchantments by Kathryn Harrison, a hardcover book I began reading on May 18th after receiving it in the mail from Amazon. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Kristine Fisher
Almost everyone knows the story of Rasputin, but not his family. It is a story of his daugher who loved her father and saw him in a different light. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Edyta Brzeczkowska
I love historical fiction and lately I have been reading a lot of books about Russia. I just read a "House of Special Purpose" and loved it, but wanted to hear the other... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Prairie Wife
It is a fantastic idea to tell the story of the fall of Russia and the Romanov family through the eyes of the daughter of Rasputin, Marsha, and the prince (called Alyosha), in this... Read morePublished 8 months ago by brenda maglich
Since three of my four grandparents came over on a boat from Russia, I've been intrigued by the history of the Romanov's for ages. Read morePublished 9 months ago by From NJ
Beautifully written and interesting as a historical piece. I read on a Kindle and rarely remember the names/authors of the books I read two months after finishing them but this one... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Richard E. Carnesale
"Enchantments" promised to be full of things I love: love stories, fairy tales, princes and princesses. Unfortunately, this novel is less than the sum of its parts. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Ellen W.
Well one thing is clear---there is a reason that the NY Times Notable Books of 2012 are called Notable and not Best. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Joseph Landes
I like the Romanov myth and legend. This book did not really have much to do with that. It was not what I expected, but interesting as an historical footnote.Published 15 months ago by Truffie