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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

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  4,794 ratings  ·  682 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 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)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Brent King The Bolsheviks were afraid that the royal family would be rescued by the approaching White Army (anti-communist forces). This was unacceptable to the…moreThe Bolsheviks were afraid that the royal family would be rescued by the approaching White Army (anti-communist forces). This was unacceptable to the Bolsheviks because the tsar or any of his surviving family members would provide a beacon to rally support to the White cause. Also, the tsar (or any of his family members if the tsar were dead) would be considered the legitimate ruler of Russia by European nations. This would have given the White cause greater negotiating power for foreign intervention against the communists.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Joseph
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
"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

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
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
☔Diane S.
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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C.W.
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
Chrissie
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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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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Laura


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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Erin
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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Jaylia3
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
Lucy
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
Laurie Notaro
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. .
Amy
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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Marialyce
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.
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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James
The story of the Romanov children (the title says sisters, but Helen Rappaport does include their younger brother Alexei as well) from their births through to their untimely deaths at the hands of Bolshevik revolutionaries. Rappaport starts out with a couple of background chapters: mostly explaining the line from Queen Victoria to her granddaughter Alexandra, of the House Hesse-Darmstadt, her marriage to Nicholas Romanov, Emperor of Russia and some surrounding histories. The rest of the book is ...more
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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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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Emma
I really enjoyed this! It was immensely readable--probably the best Romanov book I've read since Massie. Which is saying something! I did have a couple of structural issues. First of all, the book seems WAY more interested in Alexandra's character than really virtually any of the girls. And as her character is really the one around which their whole historical narrative pivots, I understand it--but I wanted a biography that really let the girls take the reins of the story, and this still didn't ...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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Pam
Very well written. It almost reads more like a novel than a work of history...how does she do that? This book was well researched and gave the reader an inside glimpse of a life I thought was so glamorous and elegant only to find out their lives were lonely and isolated. I must go back and read more about the years prior to WWI, and about the political climates of England, Germany, Serbia, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Russia to fully understand this period of history.
The Window Seat
I have a confession... I have read just about everything that has ever been written about Nicholas, Alexandra, and their five children. It all began when in my youth I watched a television miniseries about Anastasia and my fascination has never wavered. When I saw this book on NetGalley, I knew I just had to read it and review it even if it isn't exactly what The Window Seat is known for!

For those that don't know, the Romanov family were the Imperial family that ruled Russia for hundreds of year
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Judy
Rappaport, has done exhaustive research of the Romanov family through letters, diaries, and other published books. We have learned of the love story between Nicholas and Alexandra, and know of the horrible end of the family, but through this book I gained a vivid picture of the family and how they lived. It's obvious, to me, that Alexandra was not a well woman physically. Despite the fact that her love of Nicholas compelled her to leave her family and settle in Russia, a strange foreign land, sh ...more
Simon
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
Cheryl
Using information from diaries, letters, interviews, articles, archival and previously unpublished documents, Helen Rappaport presents a close up and intimate portrait of the daughters of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, the Tsarina Alexandra.

Much has been written about Nicholas and Alexandra, but until now, their daughters were only mentioned superficially. Rappaport’s meticulous research and engaging writing style allow the reader to feel a personal connection to the girls. Although they had di
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Erika Schoeps
Disclaimer: This book was given to me in a Goodreads FirstReads giveaway.

A meticulous and entertaining account of not just the Romanova sisters, but their father, mother, and brother as well. This book was well-researched and entertaining, making for the greatest personal historical account I've ever read.

The book is thorough, and yet always stays interesting because of the personal, human perspective of this book. The author draws extensively on previously private diaries, letters, and witness
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Melanie
All biographies are written in the context of history. The question facing a biographer - how to balance the lives of individual flesh-and-blood people with the events - is made even more difficult when the events were, to a degree, controlled by the people she is writing about.

What Helen Rappaport has achieved in The Romanov Sisters is a portrait of a family that could be any family, save for the exigencies of dynastic marriage, unimaginable wealth, and the paradigm-shattering events of the ear
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Jenny Hilborne
Four Sisters by Helen Rappaport is an in-depth look into the private lives of the four daughters of the Russian Imperial Family, the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia Romanov, plus, to a lesser extent, their brother Alexey. The book begins with their births and ends with their untimely demise, and also focuses on the complex bonds they each have with their mother Alexandra and their father Nicholas.

The author does a fantastic job of researching the Romanov family and, rather th
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Katherine Gypson
I came very close to not requesting a review copy of this book. I thought there was no point. I thought I'd reached my limit on Romanov books - they rarely contain anything new, they're all drawing on the same primary source material and sadly, the Romanovs have reached a point at which they don't even really seem like real people anymore. They're more like copies of characters in some old novel.

I am so glad that I went ahead and read this - not only is it one of my few five-star reads so far t
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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...
The Last Days of the Romanovs: Tragedy at Ekaterinburg A Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert, and the Death That Changed the British Monarchy Capturing the Light: The Birth of Photography, a True Story of Genius and Rivalry Conspirator: Lenin in Exile Beautiful For Ever

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