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The Lost Crown Hardcover – June 14, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Tsar Nicholas II’s four ill-fated daughters provide a fictional, inside look at Imperial Russia’s dying days in this thoroughly researched, poignant and compelling account of how the deposed Romanovs coped with abdication and arrest from 1914 to 1918.

At the beginning of World War I, Russia’s grand duchesses, Olga (19), Tatiana (17), Maria (15) and Anastasia (13) lived privileged, protected lives with their mild-mannered father, Nicholas, their anxious mother, Alexandra and their hemophiliac younger brother, Aleksei. Relying on letters, diaries and photographs of the imperial family as well as memoirs of people who shared their last years, Miller imagines how war and revolution irrevocably transported the Romanovs from their palace to house arrest in rural Tobolsk and final captivity in Ekaterinburg. The human side of their story is related chronologically through the alternating first-person voices of insightful Olga, organized Tatiana, kind-hearted Maria and impish Anastasia. Removed from the political drama exploding outside their doors, Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia emerge as isolated, unique young women with their own dreams and fears. As they nurse wounded soldiers, care for their fretful mother, amuse their ailing brother and suffer humiliation and deprivation, the four sisters symbolize family devotion and enduring hope in the face of bitter fate.

A fascinating, moving exploration of the endlessly fascinating Romanovs, buttressed by extensive and fascinating backmatter. - KIRKUS, May 1, 2011, *STAR

The Lost Crown.
Miller, Sarah (Author)
Jun 2011. 448 p. Atheneum, hardcover, $17.99. (9781416983408).

The Russian Grand Duchesses, who were murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918 along with the rest of their family, have become something of a literary mainstay. This thoroughly researched novel brings the four young women to readers in their own voices. In alternating chapters (each with a small photo of the
narrator), Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia report on their lives and their relationships and slowly but
surely reveal the perilous situation in which they find themselves. Each Grand Duchess comes across as a unique personality, with the best known, Anastasia, the most distinctive. But each girl is given time and space to reveal and reflect, and like the best historical novels, this allows modern-day teens to see parts of themselves in very different people. Sometimes the Russian words and history overwhelm the narrative, but by the heartbreaking book’s conclusion, readers will be caught up in the girls’ story. A glossary, a note about the Russian calendar, and an affecting epilogue complete the book.

--BOOKLIST, April 15, 2011

Gr 8 Up–This story of the last months of the Romanovs is told from the perspectives of the four grand duchesses: Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia. It is not an easy book to read—Russian names and nicknames, among other things, present constant challenges, but for dedicated readers, it is well worth the effort. The four points of view begin as virtually indistinguishable from one another, but emerge as strong, separate voices as the lives of the Romanovs become more and more circumscribed. Miller asks her readers to view events through the eyes of these girls while also applying the lens of historical perspective. Thus, Rasputin is loved and revered by the Romanov sisters. The grand duchesses lead, by their own account at least, a fairly Spartan life in the palace, which would hardly be the opinion of the Bolsheviks. They are surprised by the animosity that their beloved peasantry feels toward them, and are shocked by the small acts of cruelty perpetrated on them by their guards. The Lost Crown is a wonderful way to demonstrate that all history–not just historical fiction–has a point of view, but it is also a finely crafted, character-infused novel that leaves readers wishing it could have ended another way for the Romanovs. Miller includes many vintage photographs, an epilogue, author’s note, glossary, and cast of characters. A finely wrought and complex novel.–Corinne Henning-Sachs, Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook, ME

- SLJ July 2011

"A dramatic, powerful narrative and a masterful grasp of life in this vanished world."
--Greg King, co-author of The Fate of the Romanovs and Resurrection of the Romanovs

"As Romanov fiction goes, this is probably the best of the bunch."
~ Helen Rappaport, author of The Last Days of the Romanovs: Tragedy at Ekaterinburg

About the Author

Sarah Miller began writing her first novel at 10 years old, and has spent half her life working in libraries and bookstores. She is the author of Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller, which was named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and nominated for numerous state award lists. Sarah lives in Michigan with her family. Visit her online at sarahmillerbooks.com.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 880L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (June 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416983406
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416983408
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,537,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Olga Bernice Smith on June 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Lost Crown, a new novel by author Sarah Miller, is an excellent book of Romanov Russia. The book is about the world - famous Grand Duchess Anastasia Nicholaievna Romanov and her elder sisters, Olga, Tatiana and Maria. In alternating chapters narrated by each of the Grand Duchesses, Ms. Miller clearly brings alive the challenges and joys of being a daughter of the Tsar. Each character is very well formed, and different in their own ways - Olga the smart one, Tatiana the beautiful, Maria the sweet, and Anastasia the clown. Each of these girls take very different perspectives on their father's choices, and show how four different girls could form such a bond.

At the beginning is the happy times - aboard the yacht Standart, with their only worry their brother Aleksei's hemophilia to cast a shadow. Almost before the reader knows it, the war occurs, then abdication, and finally house arrest. The girls still hope - for a better life, for escape - but Ms. Miller creates a foreboding attitude near the end of the story, yet still Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia continue to dream of a better life. It ends in a cellar at Ekaterinburg, with the brutal Romanov Massacre. The way Ms. Miller chose to write about the massacre tore my heart to shreds, but after I read the Epilogue, I flipped it over and started again!

The Lost Crown was an amazing book of hope and dreams, sadness and fear, but ultimately, the love and bond of four sisters, whose world was changing around them, and when you finish, you'll be in awe that this actually happened for real - such a sad, tragic story, but Ms. Miller handles it with talent and personality that other authors might not even dare touch. The Lost Crown is a must-read for all teens - and every other Romanov fan, regardless of age.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Helen Azar on July 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
It is generally not easy to find quality historical fiction, and this goes tenfold for fiction about the last Russian imperial family. This book is a definite exception to the rule. Historically accurate down to minute details, and at the same time very well written, the story in "The Lost Crown" starts just before the revolution and covers the events that lead up to the assassination of the Russian imperial family. Seen through the eyes of the four historically neglected daughters of the last Tsar - Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia (OTMA), who are usually treated as a collective whole (unless you count trashy novels like "Tsarina's Daughter" or Anastasia-"survivor"-pseudo-non-fiction, which of course you shouldn't). In this novel, the sisters are portrayed sensitively and realistically, and most importantly as individuals. They are depicted as neither saints, nor as brats, but as normal girls/young women, as they most certainly were. The novel is told from the perspective of each individual sister, each takes a turn with the narrative. Their personalities develop as each chapter unfolds, and it is all based on historical descriptions of those who knew the girls personally, so it will satisfy even the most "purist" Romanov-phile. OTMA are presented, atypically, as multi-dimensional characters, with numerous factual anecdotes effectively incorporated into each girl's narrative, which adds a lot of reality to the story. At times they are funny, at other times - touching or sad, but they are all very real. IMO, this is arguably the best depiction, fiction or non-fiction, of the ill-fated OTMA sisters. The only thing I would change about this book is the publisher's choice of title, as I don't feel it accurately conveys the book's essence, but I suppose they know better what sells :)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Casey Floyd on June 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I feel like I am just going to echo what reviewers before me think, but I was so impressed with Sarah Miller's ability to juggle four different voices in this novel without it getting too confusing and without the voices sounding either too similar or too different that it seems artificial. She blends their voices together in a very natural way, and most likely, each reader will pick out a favorite sister - I am torn between Tatiana and Maria, myself.

The last page - the last sentence, especially - is absolutely haunting. These poor girls.

Ms. Miller has spent a lot of time researching the Romanovs, and it shows in the little details she is able to fit into her descriptions of the Romanovs' personalities and their surroundings. There is also a wealth of information in the appendix - and epilogue that goes into further detail about the murders, photographs of the Romanovs, and an author's note which explains her reasoning for making some of the choices she did, ie, the Russian nicknames used in the book.

I see that this book is marketed toward ages 13 and up, which is a good choice because there obviously is some violence and upheaval that goes on in the story, but I have to say that I'm surprised that it's marketed as a YA novel at all. Not that teens can't handle it, because I'm sure they can, but the story is complex and heart-wrenching, and something that adults who enjoy historical fiction would like, too.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Voves on June 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I knew I would enjoy " The Lost Crown" , but I didn't expect this level of achievement....it was genius to have 4 , 1st persons , letting each sister tell their story as well as the story. Otherwise could never get this much history to blend with living emotions in such a direct fashion. I thought of Anne Frank while reading this book. How do you create and write 4 distinct voices that are one family as well? Somehow Ms Miller has.....these girls must have become very real to her, because they become real to us, the reader.

She has also chosen to focus on what I feel is the most interesting part of their lives....the years beginning with the advent of WW1. Though brought up in a sheltered world, each girl shows a remarkable mettle when facing the increasingly horrific situation of their later years. It's a testament to family unity and sisterly devotion.

I have been a Romanov enthusiast for many years and this book sparkles with the young people I have had in the corner of my eye and whose voices have rung in my ears all that time. It's kind of a shock to meet them in via another's words.

Ms Miller's ability to paint with words is also amazing and there is a marvelous tactile sensibility at work here. Seemingly every part has a jewel of a description that puts you right there.

I feel " The Lost Crown" will become a great engine, drawing to the family the new generation of Roman enthusiasts. But this time they will known the true history from the start.
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