- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 12 hours and 4 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Limited
- Audible.com Release Date: August 25, 2016
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01K8E3N3I
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Secret Wife Audiobook – Unabridged
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Gill was alerted to a snippet on TV about a mooted relationship between Tatiana, one of the daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra, Tsar and Tsarina of Russia, and a cavalry officer and this serves as the foundation for a gripping time slip story.
The Romanovs were the glittering family who were at the height of power as World War I started. Their glamour and wealth were beyond comprehension, they were synonymous with sparkling jewels, opulence and of course Fabergé eggs. As the war took its toll, however, the disparity between their wealth and ruthless rule, and the poverty of the populace lay at the heart of the burgeoning revolution.
Cavalry officer Dimitri Yakovlevich Malama and Grand Duchess Tatiana forge a close friendship after she nurses him in a makeshift war hospital.novel set in russia The world as they know it is unravelling around them. War takes him to several fronts, yet they maintain a close and chaste connection and on the eve of yet another departure, they marry in secret. This gives him the strength to withstand the terrors and onslaughts he is about to face at the front. But as the casualties rise, the revolution grows until finally the Romanov family is herded and all the members, it is reported, are summarily executed. Dimitri naturally becomes distraught and clings to any sign of life, and finally lands in Berlin after the war. There he meets Rosa, but is not really emotionally available to her as he is still in thrall to his Tatiana… and he struggles to extinguish the hope of ever finding his true love alive. Rosa is a tolerant soul and tolerates his ambivalent commitment to her…
Forward to early 21st Century and his great granddaughter, grappling with her husband’s infidelity, takes off for a shack set on fictional Lake Akanabee in a remote part of New York state, which was left to her in her great grandfather Dimitri’s will. She knew nothing of his existence until she was alerted to her legacy. It is here that she spends a Summer of reflection and research that unravels a painful, yet interesting family history.
This novel bowls along at a very good pace, it is well researched, and the author’s passion for this period in history is palpable. You too will wonder at the fate of the Romanovs and whether indeed any members could have survived their experience and what their story might have been. This is an excellent novel to delve into this country’s troubled past.
For all the reviews about how brilliantly researched it was, I encountered a couple of really dumb mistakes within a few pages. Perhaps the battle scene would have been realistically portrayed, I don't know. It was the dumb little things that turned me off pretty quickly.
First, Kitty inspects a cabin she has inherited in upstate New York. It has been unoccupied for thirty years. She is surprised that the water is still turned on and the plumbing functional and attributes this to the fact that the cabin must be connected to a private water source. No question about it; no municipality will extend water lines quite that far back in the woods, but whether or not the house is served by a well is irrelevant as to why the plumbing still functioned. We are also talking about upstate New York which spends several months of the year at temperatures well below freezing. Private water source or not, those pipes would have burst long, long ago and the toilet would not have flushed and automatically refilled. In fact, the cabin would have been a rotted-out hulk with water still pulsing out. Our protagonist also expresses concern that the accompanying septic system has not been cleaned out in thirty years. If the system hasn't been used in thirty years nothing would have run through it that now requires cleaning out.
A few pages later, as Dmitri recommends a dog breed to Tatiana, he suggest that terriers are laid back and disinclined to bark much. He goes on to suggest that the Russian Black Terrier might be an excellent choice for a person who prefers small dogs. In real life, terriers are notorious yappers and the Russian Black is an enormous breed!
Yes, this criticism is petty, but really dumb factual errors like these leave me in doubt about the credibility of the rest of the book. If the minor details are poorly presented I am inclined to assume that the structural integrity of the larger systems are likely to be compromised.