142 of 153 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful and Heartbreaking,
This review is from: The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra (Hardcover)
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This is an incredible book, beautifully written and researched. It is also heartbreaking. I can’t tell you how many times I read something about one of the four Romanov sisters, the doomed daughters of Czar Nicholas and Alexandra, that caused me to stop reading and just stare at the faces on the cover. The author brings these young women to life, and it is impossible not to grieve for the innocent, young lives lost too soon.
Although the title refers to the four sisters (who referred to themselves as OTMA – Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia), the book actually begins before the marriage of their parents. Nicholas and Alexandra came to love each other very much; they were absolutely perfect for each other. They were absolutely wrong for the Russian monarchy. Nicholas would have made a wonderful country gentleman. Alexandra was very shy and suffered from health problems that limited her mobility. They were, however, warm and loving persons. How happy they could have been in other circumstances.
From Alexandra, Russia expects two things – for her to give birth to a son, and for her to be a social leader. Instead, she is almost invisible except for the disappointing announcements, one after another after another, of the birth of her daughters. And then, while the rest of the world is fascinated by the four Grand Duchesses, in Russia they are viewed as irrelevant and unimportant.
The girls live in virtual isolation. The only freedom they have is when they travel, especially on their yacht. They are constantly under threat, and they are constantly surrounded by armed guards. Still, they are brought up to be loving and charitable persons. Their personalities do come across. Anastasia is often a brat. Tatiana and Maria are stalwart. Olga, the oldest, is the most deeply affected by their confinement. She should have long been married and away, but instead she is kept at home. I just wanted to scream how unfair it all was. When they traveled outside of Russia, I wanted someone to stop them from going back. I wanted someone to rescue them, to protect them, to take care of them.
This is a wonderful book, and I highly recommend it.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 7, 2014 6:39:52 PM PDT
R. Lowe says:
Your review is excellent. I am rereading this book for the 2nd time and I too want to cry looking at the 4 young women who died so needlessly. I thought Helen wrote an excellent book and it made me see the 4 girls more than I ever dreamed. Their hopes, their dreams, and their finally demise. I have read many negative comments and I think they just don't really understand the whole story. The 4 daughters had but one purpose and that was to eventually make good marriages. Alexi was the families only home to take the throne as the daughters could not. It is a shame that they lived so terribly sheltered and admirable that they took upon themselves all they did with their mother becoming more ill, mentally and physically. It could not have been easy but they were admirable to the very end.
Posted on Jul 25, 2014 1:36:18 PM PDT
M. Conway says:
I would feel sorry for them too until I learned that hundreds of millions of people were starving. In Russia I learned that CHILDREN, small ones, starved to death, slowly. I learned that their father, the Tsar, was extra harsh due to an assassination in his family. Russia was in need of reforms that provided more work, money for people. The wars, environment, etc. were bad. I feel bad for these girls but they did have some years of pleasure and freedom. I WEEP for the millions more who did not. --- Mark's wife.
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 30, 2014 9:24:08 AM PDT
The Tzar's daughters had no say over the life they were born into or how they led their lives. As for the brief years of 'pleasure and freedom' they had, the four girls certainly paid for that with their brutal deaths before they ever were allowed to lead adult lives.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2014 8:47:10 AM PST
R. Lowe says:
The girls were not responsible for the actions of their father and mother. Absolutely Nicholas was a poor Tsar. No doubt about it. But the horrific treatment of the people did not start with him or end with him. Russia was in dire need of reform long before Nicholas. By the way, when Olga was at the age where she could have access to her money, she did use it to help the poor. Nicholas and Alexandra was so deluded that the peasants lived happy lives and they believed they were loved completely. Alexandra thought she knew it all. She knew nothing. I weep for the peasants who suffered and died so needlessly. I also weep for 5 children who although brought up in unimaginable wealth, were brutally murdered. Please remember, the death of Nicholas and his family did not end the starvation and deaths of millions. While Nicholas turned a blind eye to Russia's reality, Stalin carried on mass murder to heights never imagined.
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