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Most Beautiful Princess - A Novel Based on the Life of Grand Duchess Elizabeth of Russia Kindle Edition

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Length: 560 pages

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Thoroughly grounded in historical accuracy, this novel was developed from Christina Croft's earlier biography of Grand Duchess Elizabeth, which was short listed for the UK Biographer's Club Award. The book contains no named fictional characters but brings alive such diverse personalities as Queen Victoria, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Grand Duke Serge and the myriad of fascinating characters who peopled the courts of the late 19th and early 20th century monarchies. It follows Ella through the gossip and intrigues surrounding her marriage and the horrific murder of her husband, through to her remarkable decision to transform her own life and the lives of the poor. Her increasingly strained relationship with her sister, Tsarina Alexandra, and the pressures of war and revolution make for a compelling story, reaching a dramatic conclusion.

From the Author

Excerpt from "Most Beautiful Princess"

 ...That afternoon, Serge sat in his study, staring to no obvious purpose at the papers spread across his desk. But for the steady scuffing of his boot over the carpet the room was silent, and yet, in that steady shuffling of his foot, Ella sensed a scream of desperation, so loud and clamorous that it almost compelled her to block her ears. For some seconds she stood in the entrance gazing at him, longing for him to look up, but, whether he was unaware of her presence or had no desire to see her, his eyes remained fixed on the papers. She yearned to rush to his side, kneel at his feet and beg him to share whatever burden troubled him so intensely but twelve months of hoping had taught her that any attempt to penetrate his thoughts only drove him to a deeper silence. She pushed the door until it creaked but even when the floorboards rasped beneath her feet he did not look up.
"Serge?" He raised his head slightly. "Are you very busy?"
He shook a wad of papers, "I need to read through these before I leave."
"May I talk with you?"
"Of course." He picked up a pen and struck out a few lines on his documents.
She drew closer and waited but his only response was a fleeting glance and a swift, questioning raise of his eyebrows. "Could you at least..." an unintentional irritation crept into her voice, but she restrained it with a shake of her head. "Shall I come back later when you're less busy?"
He sighed, put down his pen and pushed back his chair. She tried to catch his eye but he looked beyond, or rather through her as though she were a ghost hovering invisibly before him. Even an impatient word would have been preferable to his asphyxiating silence. Her eyes wandered desperately around the room trying to find some common link to start a conversation but there was only the starkness of his study, his papers, his own private world in which she played so small a part. There was so much she burned to say and her thoughts ran so quickly that she half-expected to hear them tumbling uncontrollably from her tongue, `Why don't you love me? Why can't you love me? What have I done to repulse you?'
"Please," she murmured pathetically, "will you sit over here?"
He flinched but stood up and followed her to the sofa where he sat half-turned towards her. He raised one hand to his chin, wiping his index finger to and fro across his lips. Her fingers moved tentatively towards his other hand, resting flat on the cushion between them. When she touched his skin with the lightness of a pianist playing a gentle melody, he neither responded nor moved away....

Product Details

  • File Size: 673 KB
  • Print Length: 560 pages
  • Publication Date: October 31, 2008
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004JXVVQG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,522 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Christina Croft was born in Warwickshire, England, and grew up in Yorkshire. Educated at Notre Dame Grammar School, Leeds, she graduated in English and Divinity in Liverpool and obtained teaching and nursing qualifications. She began her writing career as a poet but moved on to biography and novels as well as giving talks about the Romanovs, Habsburgs, Queen Victoria and other late 19th and early 20th century royalties. Her other interests include general history, spirituality, herbs, nature and animals.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By P. B. Sharp TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 17, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess. She had golden hair and blue eyes and she married a prince. He was a Russian Grand Duke, an uncle of Tsar Nicholas II. But the princess did not live happily ever after. Her coach not only turned into a pumpkin it turned into a nightmare. Christina Croft endows her biographical novel of Ella, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, with sensitivity and flair and with a poetic gift. This story of Ella's struggle is not a litany of woe. Ella's life was scarred by tragedies but she rose above tragedy because she herself never gave in to despair- never- even when she was thrown into a mine pit by the notorious Cheka. (Witnesses to this horrific event could hear her singing a hymn way down below in the shaft). Therefore the tone of this novel is not sordid, but warm, confiding, optimistic, up-beat because Ella would have willed it that way. "Most Beautiful Princess" is a paean to a human spirit that triumphed in the face of the most awful circumstances.

Before discussing this fine novel further, let me put you up to speed as to who Ella was, in case you are unfamiliar with her. She was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria as her mother was Victoria's second daughter, Alice. Alice married Grand Duke Louis IV of Hesse, a small German duchy. Elizabeth, always called Ella, was the couple's second daughter and older sister to the famous Alix, who became Empress Alexandra and wife of Nicholas II.

Ella was considered the most beautiful princess in Europe and she had many suitors including Kaiser Wilhelm II, whom she didn't fancy. She married the very controversial Russian Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovich, a son of Tsar Alexander II. Serge was rumored to be a homosexual and considered by many to be haughty, cold, and even a sadist.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Alexandra on November 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
Breathtaking!

From the first page of this book, I felt I was transported to another time and place, witnessing not only the world-changing events in the final decades of Imperial Russia, but sharing, too, the individual joys, tragedies and dilemmas of these very real people. Although this is a novel, the attention to historical detail is meticulous. Every word spoken seems to come directly from the actual people who lived through these events and gives the reader the sense of being present among them. Kostia's desperate struggle with his conscience, Serge, tensely lighting another cigarette, Ella's excruciation at Queen Victoria, prying into the intimate details of her life - the mannerisms and the asides, all these things brought all these people alive again. I could feel the icy winds and hear the snow crunching, smell the explosives from the shattered carriage, was dazzled by the splendor of ballrooms and the contrast with the Moscow slums. The whole book took me on a truly breathtaking and uplifting journey into another world! A wonderful read!
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Victoria Lynne on November 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
I finished this book with sadness that it was over, but at the same time, a great sense of satisfaction as though I had met, in person, Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra, Grand Duchess Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and many others. In spite of the heart-breaking tragedy of the story, there is something so refreshing and inspiring in these pages that I came away, too, feeling so much better for having read this book. The author handled the intimate details of Ella's marriage with such delicacy, and the inspired and beautiful descriptions of Ella's spiritual journey show a depths of insight rarely found in fiction. I will never forget the vivid accounts of Serge's murder, nor the sheer poetry of the descriptions of Ella's awe as she stands at edge of the Sea of Galilee. Repeatedly I found myself asking: is this really a work of fiction? It was all so real that it seemed I had been taken on a journey of a lifetime and one I shall not easily forget!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Klaus Hilbert on November 16, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
SELDOM HAVE I READ A BOOK AND WAS SO FASCINATED BY THE WAY THE AUTHOR WROTE. IT FELT LIKE MS. CROFT HAD BEEN ALL ALONG ELLA'S SIDE, FROM A CAREFEE BEGINNING AS A CHILD TO THE TRAGIC END. I HAVE READ DOZENS OF BOOKS ON THE RUSSIAN ROYAL FAMILY BUT NEVER SUCH A DETAILED AND BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN ONE. THE WORDS JUST FLOWED FROM THE PAGES INTO MY MIND AND CLOSING MY EYES I FELT LIKE BEING PART OF THE "HAPPENINGS".

THIS BOOK IS A "MUST READ" FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN THE RUSSIAN ROYAL FAMILY AND ESPECIALLY THE GRANDDUCHESS ELLA.

THANK YOU MS. CROFT FOR SUCH A ONE OF A KIND BOOK.

KLAUS VON HAGEN.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By K. Maxwell on January 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to say I was surprised at how good this book was. The author seems to have a good grasp of the various royal characters in Elizabeth's life, and if you have read any memoirs or history books on the Romanovs you will appreciate how spot on the author's characterisations are and how true to history she has stayed with the story.

Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna would have been a remarkable person in any age, but among the Romanovs she stood out for her compassion and willingness to face the ugly lives of the ordinary people under the Tsar and trying actively to do something about changing them for the better. Despite the love of the ordinary Muscovites this gave Elizabeth it did not save her from the revolutionaries. Among the Romanovs Elizabeth is the only genuine saint of modern times and to write a book about a saint is never an easy thing. Elizabeth wasn't flawless and made mistakes in her life and this book doesn't gloss over those so you get the feeling that you are reading about a real person and not a religious cardboard cut out.

If you love historical novels are interested in the Romanovs I recommend this novel as a good read and something you will more than likely enjoy.
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