Nicolas II, the last Tsar of Russia, and his family have provided inspiration for countless fiction and non-fiction authors in the nearly 100 years since their tragic demise during the Russian Revolution. The rumors and gossip, following their deaths, that one or more of them had survived the firing squad and escaped, fueled the interest the public already had of the family. Books about the Romanov family itself, the individual members or the extended family are often very popular, especially among historical fiction fans. Jennifer Laam’s historical novel The Secret Daughter of the Tsar is one of the most intriguing.
As with many books in this genre the novel, about a secret fifth daughter of the Tsar, threads together the lives of individuals living in different time periods. Laam tells the story through three different women: aspiring historian Veronica, living in present-day Los Angeles; Lena, a servant at the Russian Imperial Court in 1902; and Charlotte, a former ballerina living in Paris during World War II. The investigation of a man who could be heir to the Russian throne leads the reader down a winding path of secrets and treachery that begins with Empress Alexandra who is desperate to bear a son after the birth of four daughters, and Lena who she believes can help her in the task.
This alternate history of the Romanov family is an imaginative and provocative tale and should appeal greatly to fans of historical fiction set in Imperial Russia.
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