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The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra
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The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra

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3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  10,139 Ratings  ·  1,251 Reviews
They were the Princess Dianas of their day—perhaps the most photographed and talked about young royals of the early twentieth century. The four captivating Russian Grand Duchesses—Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia Romanov—were much admired for their happy dispositions, their looks, the clothes they wore and their privileged lifestyle.

Over the years, the story of the four
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Hardcover, 381 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by St. Martin's Press (first published January 1st 2014)
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Mary Ann Heinsman I have not completed the book yet, but no, I have not been able to forget the traumatic way in which the sisters die as I read. I feel it hanging over…moreI have not completed the book yet, but no, I have not been able to forget the traumatic way in which the sisters die as I read. I feel it hanging over my progress like a dark cloud. As I know what happened, but not many of the details that led to their deaths, I find myself wondering when the "shoe will drop" so to speak. It's also very unfortunately that Nicolas didn't change the succession laws or marry his daughters off to other royal courts before all of this took place. History may have had a different outcome and we may have been privy to more insight into the lives they led.(less)
Joanne Hall The bodies of all the Romanov family, along with their retainers, have been found in the woods near Ekaterinberg in two seperate locations. It is…moreThe bodies of all the Romanov family, along with their retainers, have been found in the woods near Ekaterinberg in two seperate locations. It is thought that Anastasia and Alexey, being the smallest, were cut up and their bodies burned before the killers realised that that may not be an effective way of disposing of the bodies. The rest of the bodies were cut up anddisposed of in a nearby mine. DNA testing has proved that fragments of all the bodies have been found, proving that they were all killed.(less)

Community Reviews

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Joseph
Feb 21, 2014 Joseph rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, biography
The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandria by Helen Rappaport is a comprehensive look at the last royal family of Russia. Rappaport attended Leeds University with the intention of joining the Foreign Office. She changed her mind and became an actress. She became a full-time writer in 1998 and has written several books on Russian history and Victorian history. Her work on Lenin caused a stir when she proposed that he died of syphilis rather than a stroke.

Grow
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Eve
Mar 09, 2015 Eve rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, read-2015
"We too have to understand through it all, that God is greater than everything, and that he wants to draw us, through our sufferings, closer to Him. But my country, my God, how I love it with all the power of my being, and her sufferings give me actual physical pain." –Alexandra Romonova

I cannot stress enough what a wonderful book this was! For the duration of my reading, I was transported back in time through Russia, Finland and Britain at the turn of the century. Revolution, death and hard t
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Dem
Dec 27, 2014 Dem rated it really liked it

Helen Rappaport paints a compelling portrait of Tatiana, Olga, Maria and Anastasia the four daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra in this well written account of the girls and their lives at court.

I have read a great deal of books on the subject of Russia and the Romanov family and wasn't particularly sure what new information I would gain from this book. But I was plesently surprised with the author's approach to the Novel and the research she had done.

Rappaport's skill at showing life within th
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Susan
Feb 19, 2014 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having read all of Helen Rappaport’s books, including her 2009, “Ekaterinburg: the Last Days of the Romanovs,” I was delighted to read her latest work. “The Romanov Sisters” concentrates on the story of the Romanov’s from a slightly different viewpoint; rather than highlighting the relationship of Nicholas and Alexandra, or the illness of Alexey and Alexandra’s reliance on Rasputin, she takes the largely untold life stories of four sisters and examines them in detail. Of course, the marriage of ...more
Anya
As I, a recovering sick person (who’s had an entire day to ponder over the book) sit down to write this review, I still find myself grasping at whispy clouds of thoughts. I don't know how to write a review that would honour this gruesome tale of the end to one of the greatest dynasties of the modern world.

Don Bluth's Anastasia (its historical inaccuracies notwithstanding) was probably the first historical movie I watched and not unlike many, obsessed over. So much so that I still remember how y
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Diane S ☔
Feb 14, 2014 Diane S ☔ rated it liked it
3.5 Although much in this book was known to me previously, I did like the way this was presented. The writing is very readable, clear and precise. It focused more on the family, their daily schedules, the people they were in contact with and their individual personalities. History of course invaded the focus, but only when necessary, and how it affected the family and what they thought about what was happening.

I did feel that I received a better understanding of the girls, their individual pers
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Stephanie
Sep 13, 2015 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history, 2015
What happened to the Romanovs was haunting. I have always had an interest in this family and their and place in history and I thought this book painted a vivid picture for me.

What was most horrifying about their lives (besides the ending) was the illness. Months of recovery, hair loss and temporary deafness....sheesh. I recommend every anti-vaxer read this book, I guarantee you’ll change your mind. If I had children, I’d immediately run them to the nearest clinic and vaccine those little ones u
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Chrissie
Feb 15, 2014 Chrissie rated it really liked it
I personally am without religious faith. Some books demand that you be religious to understand how the characters think and behave. I just finished The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra. The religious faith of the girls and their mother is all encompassing and totally comprehensible…even to me. I really like books, like this, that let you experience a whole new way of looking at the world around you; I saw their world through their eyes.

You know what hit
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C.W.
May 22, 2014 C.W. rated it it was amazing
This poignant and haunting look at the Romanov daughters reminds us of why, so many years later, we continue to be fascinated by their beauty, their fragile world, and their untimely deaths. Focusing on Olga, Tatiana, Marie and Anastasia, Ms Rappaport pulls back the veil on their privileged but often cold upbringing; their difficult yet adoring relationship with the neurotic Tsarina, Alexandra; and the family's fervent focus on the only son, Alexis, whose hemophiliac disorder caused so much pain ...more
Erin
Feb 20, 2014 Erin rated it really liked it
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

Whether or not you appreciate Helen Rappaport's The Romanov Sisters will depend on how you approach it. I don't mean to be cynical, but the jacket description and cover art are not indicative of the material within and I personally found the book much less frustrating when I put aside my interest in the individual character of Nicholas' daughters and considered the book as I would a general biography of the family.

Why? Oh I
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Jolene
**Thank you St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for providing this in exchange for an honest review**

I feel like this was a bait and switch. From the title and the book description one would think this would deal mostly with the Romanov sisters. That is not exactly the case. This is really more about the family as a whole, rather then the girls themselves. The material was very well researched and the writing is engaging enough, but this wasn't the book I feel I was promised. If you're just startin
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Orient
Jan 05, 2016 Orient rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: history fans
It all started with "Anastasia", American animated epic musical film, in 1997.

I was touched by it and wanted to know more, but the information was unclear. I am really glad that I found this book in GR universe and managed to learn more about the real life of the Romanovs. At first I was cautious and thought it would be one of those difficult reads with lots of boring facts and historical information that would be long to read. But it wasn't. The fate of this famous family was so awful and the a
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Jaylia3
May 06, 2014 Jaylia3 rated it it was amazing
Comprehensive and well documented, this joint biography of the last Tsar’s four daughters stops just short of their violent deaths at the hands of revolutionaries, but it’s a poignant and haunting story from start to finish. Lovely, intelligent, and good humored, sisters Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia were seen as a unit, even referring to themselves as OTMA, but they come alive as individuals in the chapters of this book, with (roughly speaking) Olga the most emotional, Tatiana the most re ...more
Laura
Feb 18, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bettie, Susanna


I received this book as a digital ARC from the publisher through Net Galley in return for an honest review.


Since the author is a writer historian russanist, this book majestically describes the life of the Romanovs, even if the title gives a false impression on the main plot. How to describe the sisters' life without mentioning their parents, Nicholas and Alexandra, and even their poor hemophiliac brother Alexey?

The book starts with the description of the married life of Nicholas and Alexandra,
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Laurie Notaro
Aug 26, 2014 Laurie Notaro rated it it was amazing
Compelling, engrossing, fast paced but doesn't leave out the details. A solid, comprehensive look at the Romanov sisters from birth until death--and it will probably all surprise you, including what could have been done to change their awful fates. They were goofy, kind, sometimes bawdy, and devoted to one another and their parents. Highly recc. Highly. I super loved this book. .
Natalia
Mar 31, 2016 Natalia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ciertamente las Hermanas Romanov pasaron a la historia por ser las últimas herederas del Imperio Ruso y por las supuestas teorías de que algunas habían sobrevivido al terrible ataque del que fueron víctimas en 1918 en un sótano de Ekaterimburgo. El caso más conocido es el de Anna Anderson, quien sacudió al mundo entero al afirmar que era la legítima Anastasia Romanov hasta que un examen de ADN derivado de los restos de la familia imperial que se encontraron décadas después desmintió esa posibili ...more
Lucy
Mar 05, 2014 Lucy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an absorbing biography and history of the four sisters and the last Russian royal family. Rappaport starts by describing the one of their last residences before delving back into the family history of the sisters which stretched across the royal houses of Europe. Although this is a richly detailed and informative book it is not difficult to read. So, those that are wary of reading history books for fear of the writing being dry shouldn’t worry. Interspersed with historical quotes from pr ...more
Aoife
I actually wish I could give this book a higher rating because it is very well researched and also well-written. Non-fiction can often appear a bit dry but the author manages to interweave facts, quotes from diaries and letters, and her own take on some events in a way that it's rarely boring.
However: I expected a book about the four Romanov-sisters and I don't really feel I got that. The first few chapters are mostly dedicated to the parents, especially Alexandra, the mother. I understand that
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Marialyce
Dec 07, 2014 Marialyce rated it it was amazing
A wonderfully engaging novel about the Romanov girls and the tragedy of their lives. It makes one especially glad that my wish of being a princess never came true. It was a book that even though you knew the ending, you hoped in your head that you could have changed it.
James
Aug 31, 2015 James rated it really liked it
Quick read. Informative. Learned a lot! I picked it up to see what their story was all about. And I was surprised at the amount of impact was both on the world and on them as a family. Good book.
Matthew
Nov 11, 2015 Matthew rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: historical non fiction fans, Russian history fans
Shelves: 5, favourite-books
I really can't go another day without writing a review of this. I finished this the first day of the year and yet I can't muster words to really express how rewarding this is, how much I enjoyed reading this. History is one of those subjects where one either loathes it, or completely loves it. Ever since I was a young child I have been firmly placed in the latter camp; the Victorian era, the history of film and Eurovision (no laughing) seem to be my specialist subjects. I have also, since childh ...more
Simon
Sep 08, 2014 Simon rated it liked it
The basic problem is not with the writing, which is good, nor with the odd nugget of information (Grand Duke Dmitri's letter to Nicholas II is a very odd nugget indeed), but with the subject matter itself. To put it bluntly, the girls just aren't interesting enough in and of themselves to sustain a biography, and so Rappaport goes into some detail about Alexei (fair enough) and Nicholas and Alexandra --- but only insofar as their parents were understood by the girls. Which is to say, not at all. ...more
Denise
This is a painstakingly researched book about not only the four Romanov grand duchesses but the other family members, as well. The slant, as the title suggests, though, is towards a more thorough understanding of the girls, Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia.

I have always been fascinated by the last tsar and his family. And I have always thought the violent deaths of the family, particularly the innocent children, was a horrendous tragedy. Through her detailed research, Helen Rappaport has give
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Scott
Aug 04, 2016 Scott rated it it was ok
This carefully researched, detailed, LONG and agonizingly linear recounting of the day-to-day lives of the Romanov family lacks much in the way of historical context or psychological depth. It reads like a fawning celebrity profile in "Tiger Beat" magazine - with hundreds of footnotes.
Liina Bachmann
Oct 08, 2016 Liina Bachmann rated it it was amazing
Shelves: russian, 2016, favorites
This was my first book about The Romanov's and I didn't have much knowledge on the subject except for the obvious (that they were shot and the tragedy before that). I enjoyed the read very much. It read like a novel, was not dry and I found it pretty hard to put down. Although the subject matter had a certain doomed atmosphere from the beginning and it was difficult to read without getting very emotional (towards the end especially).
Rappaport has found a thin line between pitying her subjects an
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MissSusie
It took me a little bit to get into this book but once I did I was hooked. The bad thing about reading a book about the Romanov’s is you know the ending and this book endeared me to the family and I really wanted it to end differently.

These girls were very sheltered and this book didn’t feel like it concentrated on just the girls, it’s a story about the entire family. Really what else can you say, everyone knows the story but to get some of these intimate details was interesting. And even thoug
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Amy
Aug 10, 2016 Amy rated it it was ok
I don't tend to go much for stories of royalty. I don't care much about the different clothes they wore, or fancy trips to the sea, or that Alexandra's "trademark" was flowers in every room (super original and interesting, there).

Clearly, the author is knowledgeable and researched extensively; likewise, it's a terrible thing that happened to the family, and excuses a lot of the narrative bias. But, there just wasn't much there about the daughters. They come off like average girls -- which is pro
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Amy Bruno
Wow, what an incredibly fascinating and heart-wrenching read! I've long been intrigued by the story of the Romanov family and in particular, the four sisters, Olga, Tatiana, Marie, and Anastasia - collectively known as OTMA - so I immediately requested to review Rappaport's book as soon as it popped up on Edelweiss and I am so glad that I did!

Rappaport delivers a highly enjoyable and insightful read that was never dry or boring. The Romanov girls personalities shine through and the reader comes
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Louise
You would think with all that has been written about this family there would be nothing more to say, but as she did with Queen Victoria in A Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert, and the Death That Changed the British Monarchy, author Helen Rappaport presents a whole new way to look at life as lived by royals.

The Romanov's burned most of their diaries and letters and other primary sources were lost in the Stalinist era. It appears that the author combed all that is known to survive. The resul
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  • A Royal Experiment: The Private Life of King George III
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Born in Bromley, England, Helen Rappaport studied Russian at Leeds University but ill-advisedly rejected suggestions of a career in the Foreign Office and opted for the acting profession. After appearing on British TV and in films until the early 1990s she abandoned acting and embraced her second love - history and with it the insecurities of a writer’s life.

She started out contributing to biograp
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More about Helen Rappaport...

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“Life is also meaningful without being married’, she had once told her mother, and marrying merely for the sake of it was, in her view, ‘one of the greatest mistakes a woman can make” 7 likes
“History may have condemned him many times over for being a weak and reactionary tsar, but he was, without doubt, the most exemplary of royal fathers.” 6 likes
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