5 ***** stars!
Wow! What a great book! I want to read more by Mr. Gortner! I knew the tragic story of Anastasia and her royal family, including her father Tsar Nicholas, but I never knew anything of her grandmother, Nicholas’ mother, that this book is about. Such a strong woman! She lived through such troubling times, navigating the heated political climate and dissension with wisdom, grit and courage and survived. living to 80, dying in 1928 and having outlived 4 of her 6 children. The author, I felt, did a remarkable job, after researching more than 150 sources, of compiling facts into an compelling tale, filling in, with his unique style where what could only be surmised. We chose this as one of the best books of last year that we had read for our blog, and this is a definite reread for me!
4 **** stars
This is a historical fiction novel about the life and times of the Tsarina of Russia, Maria Feodorovna. Following this woman through the years 1862 to 1918, it traces her beginnings as Princess Dagmar of Denmark, to her rule as Tsarina of Russia, to her decline as a dowager empress of a system that was no more. Told through the tsarina’s own perspective, the book sucks the reader in from the very beginning, and holds them captive until the very end. This worth-while read is packed with so much history, and seems to be very well researched. The book is mostly clean, but does contain one mild love scene, some innuendo, and some brief LGBTQ innuendo.
One of the only drawbacks that I have with this book is the inclusion of so much gossip and rumors. While it is portrayed as gossip, rumors, and hearsay, and while much of it might be accurate, if any of it is not accurate (and because there is so much of it, this is a likelihood) then the author is spreading this malignant gossip to a new generation and tarnishing old reputations in the process.
My overall rating is four stars for an enjoyable and educational novel.