This is a captivating novel with fiction using historical facts and conjecture about the tragic fate of the Romanovs, the Russian Imperial family in post World War One Russia 1919.
The story is told via two narrators and moves seamlessly between two time periods and countries, one from 1919 – 1945 Russia and the other 1973 Australia.
I’ve had a fascination for the tragic history of the Romanovs, the Russian Imperial family, since learning about them in school a long time ago! Their remains were apparently discovered recently and DNA tests were done but still the speculation continues. What really happened and did any of them survive? Several imposters and con artists have claimed to be one or more or the sisters but no-one is really 100% certain of what happened during and after this terrible event.
One of the narrators in this book is Maria, the middle daughter in the royal family who describes her life during their confinement in the house they were imprisoned in Ekaterinburg shortly before the execution of the family by Bolshevik soldiers. Life there is a far cry from the luxury and privilege enjoyed by the family in previous times and they struggle to adapt. Maria befriends some of the guards and is a keen photographer and sketch artist. Then the inevitable tragic event happens and in this fictional version two of the sisters survive. What might have happened to one of them is the whole premise of this book.
The second narrator Val is an Australian housewife trapped in an abusive relationship with her spouse. Val has a historical connection to the Russian royals that she’s unaware of and the story of this connection is slowly revealed. Her part in the book highlights the lack of rights for married women of that time.
The historical timeline and what is known about the family themselves has been excellently researched by the author and there is much detail about all that took place during that time before and after the revolution. The excessive wealth and sumptuous palaces of the rich and the grinding poverty of the Russian people, particularly during the siege of Leningrad on the Eastern front during The Second World War 1941-1944.
So much is covered in this book that it’s tempting to write a very lengthy review describing it all!
I read this book in a day and was completely absorbed and spellbound by it. Another Woman’s Husband by the same author was on my list of Outstanding Books Of 2017 and this book will be on my list for 2018
Gill Paul is a Scottish-born, London-based writer of historical fiction and non-fiction. Her novels include the USA Today bestseller The Secret Wife, Women and Children First, which was shortlisted for an RNA Award, The Affair and No Place for a Lady, which was shortlisted for a Love Stories Award. Her non-fiction includes A History of Medicine in 50 Objects, World War I Love Stories and Royal Love Stories. Gill’s expertise is often called upon for talks on historical subjects, including the sinking of the Titanic. She lives in London, where, as well as writing full-time, she enjoys swimming year-round in an outdoor pond.