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3.21  ·  Rating Details ·  1,960 Ratings  ·  366 Reviews

From Kathryn Harrison, one of America’s most admired literary voices, comes a gorgeously written, enthralling novel set in the final days of Russia’s Romanov Empire.

St. Petersburg, 1917. After Rasputin’s body is pulled from the icy waters of the Neva River, his eighteen-year-old daughter, Masha, is sent to live at the imperial palace with Tsa
Hardcover, 314 pages
Published March 6th 2012 by Random House (first published January 1st 2012)
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(showing 1-30)
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Lots of pretty words, not much substance.

Clearly, this book is much too literary for my tastes, and I should know by now to look for that at the top of book promo and run the other way. This "what if" book begins with the death of Rasputin, and his two daughters are taken into the royal household with the hopes that eldest daughter Masha has her father's gift of healing. Masha spends lots and lots of time with the young tsarevich, and to pass the time she tells him lots and lots of stories. Stor
Feb 29, 2012 Cynthia rated it really liked it
Rasputin Live!

I haven’t read Harrison in years though I enjoyed her earlier works. Reading “Enchantments” felt like a homecoming. I’m shocked to see other reviewers didn’t like it as much as I did. Harrison’s writing is top notch. There were two or three chapters I marked to go back and read again because her prose is so beautiful. As usual Harrison’s prose is highly sensual and often lush. In this book Harrison uses some well known historic facts surrounding the killing of the Romanovs as a ste
Jul 04, 2012 Joanna rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I read about 60 pages of this book and then gave up. I love love love Romanov stories, but this one is terrible.

The author writes in a meandering tone and shifts the setting of what's currently going on without warning. At one point you're reading the narrator's thoughts, then she randomly goes back in time, and then we're back in the present. There are no signifiers that this is happening, and it is really wearing.

I agree with the other reviewers who said the author tries much too hard to be "l
Mar 10, 2012 Simon rated it did not like it
Good God in heaven, my eyeballs hurt. There is a scene in which Nagorny troops off with the Tsarevich to get him deflowered by a local peasant girl. There is a scene in which the bullet-riddled bodies of the Grand Duchesses appear to Mashka (that would be Maria Rasputin to US) just to let her know that Alyosha the Sunbeam is thinking about her inside a Faberge egg in the afterlife. If that sentence made sense to you, this is the book for you. Otherwise, run like a deer. It is enough to make that ...more
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
May 26, 2012 Jessie (Ageless Pages Reviews) rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jessie (Ageless Pages Reviews) by: Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Read This Review & More Like It On My Blog!

You may not know Matryona Grigorievna by her first two names, but you will recognize her last, infamous name: Rasputina. The daughter of either Russia's most famous eccentric and healer or her most prolific sham, depending on who is asked, Masha's unique and by turns sad, very strange and moving story of life after her father's abrupt (and excessively violent) murder is a sure-to-please strong-female-character-powered novel. Enchantments was exactly
Jenny Q
Mar 19, 2012 Jenny Q rated it liked it
3.5 Stars. I was really looking forward to reading a novel of Rasputin's daughter, and I was even more pleased to discover that Alexei Nikolaevich, the doomed Romanov tsarevich, was such a central figure to the novel. This is a novel about the last days of the Romanovs, but in this story, the four princesses take a back seat to their younger brother. This is a book for Alexei, and I like that.

After her father is murdered, eighteen-year-old Masha Rasputin, along with her younger sister Varya, is
Mar 25, 2012 Felice rated it it was ok
The Romanovs have their own special cottage industry in historical fiction. The romances, the revolution, the eggs, the hemophilia, the assignations, WWI, Anastasia and Rasputin have all combined to make the Romanovs the most fictionalized royals this side of the Tudors. So you have to figure that a writer must have a powerful love for those families and/or feel as though they have something new to bring to the already existing legends in order to pen another 80,000 words on them.

Is this why Ka
Misty Baker
Feb 27, 2012 Misty Baker rated it liked it
I love learning new things. Usually they come in the form of lessons:

“Slamming your hand in the oven hurts.”

“Trees don’t move, avoid running into them.”

“Leave the gun…take the canoli.”

but in that rare opportunity that I get to expand my brain under the assumption of pure entertainment I get giddy.

When I was in High School, Disney released a movie called “Anastasia.” I loved this movie (Don’t judge me!) and as a result became unabashedly obsessed with the Romanov dynasty. I watched movies about t
Lydia Presley
May 17, 2012 Lydia Presley rated it liked it
I desperately wanted to love this book. The cover, the Romanov's, the tragedy of Russia during this time period - it should all add up to be heart-wrenchingly beautiful.. but it was lacking a bit for me.

There's no doubt that Kathryn Harrison is a writer who commands attention - she had to have been otherwise I think I may have put the book down about halfway through. Instead, I persevered, muddling my way through fragments of stories until I reached the end. I think what it boiled down to was th
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
While I was in college, I got to see the Nicholas and Alexandra Exhibition in Wilmington, DE that included, among other things, lots of jewels, a wealth of photos, and the blood-stained and bullet-riddled wall where the royal family was executed. It was a sight I wasn't prepared for, and made for me the tragedy of the Romanovs uncomfortably real. Since then, I've been taken with fiction about that doomed family, in search of a novel that balances the silly excess of the Romanovs with a humane te ...more
Tempo de Ler
Mar 16, 2015 Tempo de Ler rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Raramente me arrependo de ler ficção histórica porque, no mínimo, acabo sempre por aprender qualquer coisa. Arrependo-me, no entanto, de ter perdido o meu tempo com "Encantamentos", a sua abordagem algo cínica e infantil dos acontecimentos/decisões que levaram à queda dos Romanov e à organização dos bolcheviques é selectiva e, portanto, pouco realista.

Ao fragmentar a narrativa entre passado/presente/futuro/realidade/fantasia Kathryn Harrison acabou por criar um livro desordenado e aleatório, ro
Apr 01, 2013 AliceinWonderland rated it did not like it
- There were so many reasons to like this book from the start; especially someone who loves historical fiction, finds Rasputin fascinating and has empathy of the doomed Russian Imperial family, but Harrison manages to eliminate all of these positive feelings.
- I was very hopeful when first reading this book...the writing was pretty decent, the characters seems to have potential to be very interesting...but then about halfway through, once you realize these hopes are not going to pan out, but you
Linda Lipko
May 02, 2012 Linda Lipko rated it really liked it
Oh how I loved this book. It was a perfect opportunity to put he stress of the last few weeks aside and to delve into great historical fiction.

Told from the perspective of Rasputin's daughter Masha, the reader learns a softer side of Rasputin. Known as the Mad Monk with a libido, a dirty peasant who helped topple the Romanov dynasty, and a starets who influenced Nicholas and Alexandra in their quest to help Alosha their hemophiliac son, Masha paints a broader picture of Rasputin.

In this novel we
Mar 28, 2013 Marg rated it it was ok

I have a number of historical eras that I seem to be drawn to when it comes to books. Among those are books set in the medieval era, World War I and II, and books set in Russia, especially those featuring the Romanov family.

It was therefore no surprise that I was interested in this book when I first heard of it. The main character of this book is Masha Rasputina, daughter of the infamous 'Mad Monk' Grigori Rasputin, which is an interesting choice of narrator that I have only seen used one other
Erin Cataldi
Nov 16, 2012 Erin Cataldi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012, aliss-book-club
LOVED this book!! It was easily the best historical fiction I've read all year. One of the reasons I loved this book so much was the fact that it took place in St. Petersburg and I just visited there over the summer and knew pretty much all the palaces and sites they described. It was like reliving my trip!

The story follows Rasputin's daughter, Masha, as she copes with the brutal death of her father and the overthrow of the Tsar. She and her sister are exiled along with the Tsar's family and in
Elizabeth B
Apr 15, 2012 Elizabeth B rated it it was ok
As another reviewer said "Lots of pretty words, little substance" and I couldn't agree more whole-heartedly. While there were some wonderfully drawn passages in this novel to set the atmosphere, it seemed the author tried TOO hard to evoke a literary style to this novel. Even in wordy literary novels, though, each word has a purpose and, in this case, the words served no purpose to move the novel forward. Instead, it became a chore to try and move through the passages and most people will find ...more
Com uma capa e um resumo tão atrativos tive de ter este livro na minha estante.

A história em si, o enredo baseado em factos verídicos são uma mais valia para este livro.

No entanto, a escrita desta autora, que não me agradou de todo, estragou a minha experiência.

O quebrar de ritmo e a fratura entre capítulos (ora no passado, ora no presente) que a meu ver não tiveram a suavidade necessária, assim como o relato um pouco frio, embora informativo, de momentos emotivos de tamanha tragédia familiar da
Nov 01, 2013 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
O assassinato de Grigory Rasputine, apelidado de "Monge Louco", vai fazer com que as suas duas filhas sejam levadas para o palácio dos Romanov, com o intuito de que Masha, a filha mais velha, pudesse salvar o seu único filho varão, Alyosha.

Pensando que Masha possuía os mesmos poderes que o pai, a czarina Alexandra deixa que os dois jovens passem muito tempo juntos, levando a troca de confidências e a um amor pueril por parte de ambos.
Liliana Pinto
Dec 11, 2013 Liliana Pinto rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leituras-2013
Aborrecido, aborrecido, aborrecido. É a palavra certa para este livro.
Quando quero ver (ler, neste caso) um documentário mudo para o canal História, não leio um livro. E é mais interessante que este livro.

Li 200 páginas e foi um inferno. Não consegui avançar mais e desisti. A escrita da autora é muito monótona e cansativa. Altera entre passado e presente de forma tão confusa que confunde.

Dos piores livros que li até hoje.
Mar 28, 2012 Dan rated it really liked it
Tales historical and beguiling
A magical flying carpet is one of many fanciful enchantments that Kathryn Harrison uses to hold dread and despair at bay in her rich, imaginative and historical account of the collapse of the Romanovs, told from the perspective of Masha, the favorite daughter of Grigory Rasputin and the Scheherazade to the doomed tsarevich Alyosha, executed along with his parents and four sisters by the Bolsheviks on July 17, 1918.

Alyosha (Alexei), a hemophiliac, is bedridden and in
Holly P
May 30, 2012 Holly P rated it liked it
Enchantments is an imaginative and markedly different take on the story of the murder of the Mad Monk Rasputin and the downfall of the Romanov family. In Harrison's novel the reader is asked to consider how the history would have unfolded if Rasputin's daughters Masha and Varya went to live with the Romanovs as wards after the death of their eccentric father. The story unfolds through the viewpoint of the eldest daughter Masha who develops a bond with the Tsarevich (referred to as Aloysha here) ...more
May 04, 2012 Kiki rated it liked it
This was an interesting novel, and at times, it was very compelling reading. Masha, Grigory Rasputin's older daughter, is ensconced with the Romanov family after her father's hideous death, as they are taken prisoner by the Bolsheviks. She has become acquainted with the family over the years since her father has been very close to the Tsarina and the Romanov's only son, Aloysha, who is afflicted with hemophilia.

While Harrison is a very thoughtful writer with an wonderful prose style, I really fe
Amy L. Campbell
Note: Advance Reader Copy provided by Netgalley.

Enchantments is the story of Rasputin's oldest daughter Masha and how she copes after his death. Although there are vignettes and flashback including Rasputin, and Masha's relationship with him, ultimately it is about her ability to cope with having had a father who was perceived as a madman and great healer both. Masha's own perceptions of her father are included and at times she admits uncomfortable truths about her father's lack of hygiene and s
Jun 08, 2012 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an unusual retelling of the end of the Romanov dynasty, told mainly through the stories and memories of Masha, Rasputin's daughter. Masha was eighteen when her father was murdered and she and her younger sister, Vanya, were sent to the Alexander Palace in Tsarkoe Selo, under the care of the Tsar and his family. In her despair, the Tsarina begs Masha to take her father's place and keep the Tsarvich "from harm". Events change quickly, the Tsar abdicates and the family are under arrest. ...more
Feb 03, 2016 Denis rated it liked it
Enchantments is a bittersweet journey through the last days of Imperial Russia as Masha, one of the daughters of the notorious Rasputin, may have lived them. One of the fundamental, most apocalyptic event of the last century, the Russian revolution, is therefore glimpsed and felt in a very unusual way: avoiding a lot of the clichés often associated in the world of epic fiction with the events of the time, Harrison prefers, with her great sense of style and detail, to weave an impressionistic, ...more
Oct 16, 2012 Bethany rated it it was ok
Enchanments was an okay novel.

Harrison's syntax tripped me quite often with her habit of putting the subject after the verb or placing parenthetical information where it was slightly out of place syntactically. It took me nearly half of the book to get the hang of it.

Additionally, the first half -and perhaps even further- was not too interesting to me because it didn't seem to have any point. Each chapter was just Aloysha telling Masha a story from the past or Masha telling Aloysha a story. As
Judy King
Jun 12, 2012 Judy King rated it liked it
I'll read almost anything about the Tsar and his family and that the end of the reign of the Romanov family -- even abut Rasputin. I wasdelighted to discover Harrison's Enchantments -- but for me, the book didn't live up to the hype, or even the rich and wonderful cover design. Harrison is a talented wordsmith -- she can turn a wonderful phrase -- but her desire to spin prose and poetry in the midst of this story became annoying -- quickly...I think I would have loved the book if she had played ...more
Judy Chessin
Mar 24, 2012 Judy Chessin rated it really liked it
I found the stories in this book enchanting: both the magic stories spun by Masha (daughter of Rasputin) to entertain Handsome Aloysha, Tzar Nicholas' hemophiliac son, as he and his family awaited his fate. As a child I learned of this story through the book and movie Nicholas and Alexandra, and became fascinated by life in that royal court and the "demonic" Rasputin. I never knew he had a daughter. The nuance of this book that I liked was the revelation that there was never magic involved, ...more
It would be very easy for me, if I chose, to pick apart Enchantments with an extremely critical eye - the thematic points are not woven in tightly enough; Alyosha is not much of a convincing character; Masha's adult life is not drawn very fully; the detached, philosophical tone Alyosha and Masha used when talking about the revolution didn't come off as well as it could have.

(Never mind that romanticizing books about the Romanovs aren't usually my sort of thing.)

But, with this novel, I don't actu
Nov 06, 2013 Raisa_k_140511 rated it liked it
An interesting russian novel that showed the Romanov's (royal family) tragic fall. And how Rasputin's daughters tried to adapt with the Romanov's after their fathers death. Rasputin's daughter Masha meets Alyosha one of the Romanov's sons. Alyosha was a bedridden boy because he's sick. Masha accompanies him all the time and tell each other stories about Rasputin's and Romanov's history. I didn't expect the ending of the story. I was amazed how fate can change everything. I liked the best in the ...more
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Romanovs: New Romanov Fiction 17 49 Mar 17, 2012 05:29PM  
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  • For the King
  • Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore
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  • History of a Pleasure Seeker
  • The Sister Queens
  • Miss Fuller
  • The Book of Mischief: New and Selected Stories
  • Collected Poems
  • The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great (Catherine, #1)
  • Accidents of Providence
  • The Book of Madness and Cures
  • The Romanov Bride
  • The Court of the Last Tsar: Pomp, Power and Pageantry in the Reign of Nicholas II
Kathryn Harrison is the author of the novels Envy, The Seal Wife, The Binding Chair, Poison, Exposure, and Thicker Than Water.

She has also written memoirs, The Kiss and The Mother Knot, a travel memoir, The Road To Santiago, a biography, Saint Therese Of Lisieux, and a collection of personal essays, Seeking Rapture.

Ms. Harrison is a frequent reviewer for The New York Times Book Review; her essay
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“If complete enlightenment demands relinquishing the self, then complete enlightenment implies the acceptance of mortality. Not that there isn't more to being enlightened than accepting that our lives are brief and end when we did. But I do think it's a requirement.” 1 likes
“The eyes those silent tongues of love. —CERVANTES” 0 likes
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