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Secret Daughter of the Tsar

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  1,740 ratings  ·  286 reviews
A compelling alternate history of the Romanov family in which a secret fifth daughter—smuggled out of Russia before the revolution—continues the royal lineage to dramatic consequences

In her riveting debut novel, The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, Jennifer Laam seamlessly braids together the stories of three women: Veronica, Lena, and Charlotte. Veronica is an aspiring histor
Paperback, 344 pages
Published October 22nd 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin
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Average rating 3.62  · 
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 ·  1,740 ratings  ·  286 reviews

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Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
today marks the 100th anniversary of the death of the grand duchess anastasia nikolaevna and the immediate romanov family. to show my respect, i watched the film ‘anastasia’ and read this book. both of which are works of fiction (not to mention historically inaccurate), but oh, how i wish they were true!

and before any enthused historians come at me, im rating this based on my enjoyment and not its factual basis. because i did enjoy this. there is a sort of romantic notion involved when thinking
Lyd's Archive (7/'15 to 6/'18)
"What I really want is that my country come out of this historical period and stop dwelling on it... but... we are living in a new Russia. We have colossal problems to face. let's forget about the political aspects of the past. Let's leave that to the historians."
- Prince Nicholas Romanov, as quoted in The Romanovs: The Final Chapter

I have a lot to say about this book, so bear with me. To answer your initial questions, history buffs, the secret-daughter thing is actually done well, but I had ot
Nov 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What fun I had reading this book. The tragic story of the Tsarist Romanov family of Russia is one that fascinates me. Jennifer Laam has taken that historical background and made the Romanov's alive and vibrant through their fictitious servants and supposed heirs. I was completely taken in by the novel from the Prologue onward. This work of historical fiction is such a good read!

The story line is fluent and gripping. I couldn't stand to be torn away and was really aggravated when anything or any
Jenny Q
Aug 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars. I was really drawn to the premise of this novel and the idea that a Romanov heir exists that is neither Anastasia or Alexei. The story begins with Veronica, a struggling professor attempting to write a biography of Empress Alexandra, who becomes involved with a man whose interest in the Romanovs matches her own. Orphaned as a young girl and raised by her grandmother, Veronica has always felt like an outsider within her large family, and later in her academic career. When she learns of ...more
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story seamlessly winds together the lives of three women from different times and places. The first half builds the mystery about the Russian Romanov family and the three main characters, and the second half is where the action and the tension really begin. My Kindle jumped from 50% to 90% completed and I hardly noticed! I loved how the book came together in the end, blending the mysteries from Russia in the early 1900s, to Paris in 1941, to present-day NYC; I honestly didn't see it coming. ...more
Jun 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
Um....I had such high hopes for this book. The story line was so interesting. But!....The writing was horrible. It's like the author had random information she really wanted to throw in the book. The story would be going a long and then all of a sudden some useless information would come up making me confused. From the very start I knew how the book would end. No surprises, just a long drawn out story. When I was done reading the book I sat there trying to figure out how this book could have bee ...more
May 06, 2015 rated it liked it
I love the premise of this book so I really wanted to love this book. I enjoyed Lena's character but found some of the other characters lacking depth. I didn't particularly care for the Michael-Veronica relationship, felt it wasn't developed well. It was very obvious what the twist was going to be early on in the book. This book had great potential, but overall it was ok.
My opinion of this book bounced around like a pinball. I would find myself rolling my eyes and skimming Veronica chapters and vowing no more than two stars then change to Lena and Charlotte chapters and go up to four stars. This book is not a five star book and Veronica is the reason.
The story has a good premise that a fifth daughter was born to Nicholas and Alexandra in 1902 and smuggled out for political reasons. To me this story is more plausible than one child survived the massacre. I know
Meg - A Bookish Affair
May 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
"The Secret Daughter of the Tsar" is an alternate history of the Romanov family, Russia's last royal rulers. I was excited about this book because I am absolutely fascinated with Russia and its history, especially during the 20th century to present day. I'm always excited when I can find a historical fiction that takes on Russia (there aren't that many out there!!! why???). Alternate histories are a little bit more dicey for me usually. It's sometimes hard for me to get into the mindset of suspe ...more
Mary Pessaran
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I love this story—all three of them actually. Jennifer Laam uniquely captures the conflicts of three different time-periods. The luxuries and expectations of Imperialist Russia, the constant fears and stark conditions of the German occupation of Paris, and the pressures of modern day. Laam uses subtle details to allow us to visualize the settings and characters without overpowering the scenes. The book demonstrates the author’s love of history, as well as a desire to alter the outcome of the sen ...more
Lou Ann
Apr 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Secret Daughter of the Tsar is a beautifully written historical fiction novel by debut writer, Jennifer Laam. This author clearly knows her Russian history, with vivid details about food, language, dress and customs of the early 1900s Russia. This novel follows three different times; the elegance of the court of Empress Alexandra, the horror of Nazi Germany and present day academia (also horrific). Jennifer expertly weaves the lives of three women, blending their despair, romance and hope as ...more
Saturday's Child
Sep 11, 2014 rated it did not like it
When I saw this novel on Goodreads I wanted to find a copy to read as I am interested in the Romanov Family and fact or fiction I enjoy reading about them. When the library that I borrow from got a copy I could not wait to read it. I wanted to enjoy this novel but I just didn't. The three periods of time in the plot were easy enough to follow but there was just too much going on description wise and I found it to be a distraction for me. From the beginning I did not like the character Veronica a ...more
Tiffany Sims
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to love this book when I realized the connection with the Romanov family, but did not find the characters believable. Seemed to lack development & consistency with main characters Veronica & Michael. Loved the conspiracy idea behind the Romanov family, could have been better executed. ...more
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
As an amalgam of romance and historical fiction, it was too damned much romance lit. I didn't finish it, as the romance manner of writing makes my teeth ache.
The Lit Bitch
Sep 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first I was a little confused by the three different story-lines. I am used to books that toggle between a historic time period and the present, however this one skipped over three different periods basically spanning 100 years. Initially I wasn’t sure this would work well but overall I thought the stories came together nicely and I wasn’t completely lost or confused.

Each woman was memorable and interesting. All three of the women start out a little timid and meek but grow into strong indepen
Valerie Cole
Aug 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Ohhh my goodness. I totally did not see this ending happening at all. What an awesome twisty turny ride through the Romanov family tree. Brava, Jennifer Laam. Brava!

More here -->
Kim Friant
Oct 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A very excellent book!! i thought authors had twisted the Romanov stories as many times as possible, but this was a new twist and i very much enjoyed it! :)
Three-and-a half stars. Maybe three-and-three-quarters? I saw the 'huge' twist coming, I just wasn't sure how it would work out. I was much more interested in Lena & Charlotte's story then Veronica's. I just didn't connect with her at all, I thought she was a bit of a bore honestly. I think I would've enjoyed a lot more of what happened to Lena and Charlotte. The story was interesting a different take on the "One Who Survived" for the Romanov family. ...more
May 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This review can also be found at BookshelfBlogger and TheBookshelfBlogger

A compelling alternate history of the Romanov family in which a secret fifth daughter—smuggled out of Russia before the revolution—continues the royal lineage to dramatic consequences

In her riveting debut novel, The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, Jennifer Laam seamlessly braids together the stories of three women: Veronica, Lena, and Charlotte. Veronica is an aspiring historian living in present-day Los Angeles when she meets
Melissa Erin Jackson
I'm not usually one for historical novels, mainly because I'm worried I won't know enough about the time period to be able to follow along. But when Jennifer's prologue appeared in the selection of submissions for the critique group I was in, I was pulled into this rich world on page one (I fell in love with her writing before I ever knew her as a person. She's a pretty spiffy person, too). I was lucky enough to read most of this book in it's manuscript form, and I was always struck by how acces ...more
Terrie Wolf
May 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
I owe Veruka Salt an apology. You remember her, right? She was the demanding brat in WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. "I want it now," she said to her father and she was the character I least identified with until THIS book came my way. It made me want it, it stuck in my thoughts, it filled my head with dreams of things past, present and...see? It's doing it again. I've come to understand the giddy passion that comes from real, aching desire thanks to Laam's debut. It has to do with her ca ...more
Mar 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Did the Empress Alexandria have a fifth daughter between Anastasia and the tsarevitch Alexei? (Oh and on the jacket flap it says the empress is determined to sire a son. No female can sire anything.) The narrative switches back and forth among Russia 1902, the USA of today, and the France of 1941 with each section moving the story forward and the connections among the events becoming clearer with each spiral twist. Is Michael the heir to the throne or not? Did the baby survive?
I have some proble
Kris Mehigan
Oct 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a 4.5 star read for me. Loved it... loved the Romanovs, the secret history, the way modern day was laced with history and brought it to life. Was absorbed by all three story lines- Lena's, Charlotte's and Veronica's. The only reason I didn't give it a complete 5 stars was due to personal preference- For the first few chapters I preferred the historical story lines to the contemporary... until I started to suspect the relevance of the modern line.

Ms. Laam did an amazing job weaving all t
Sherri Stephens
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. What an amazing debut novel. I can't wait to see more from this gifted writer.I love Russian History especially the Romanovs so this was right up my alley. The plot is set into three time periods about three seemingly unconnected women. The story unfolds with yet another (I wish it was true) theory that one of the Tsar's children survived. Only this time it wasn't one of the children that we read about in history. The book kept me guessing right up to the last few chapters. It ...more
Bryar Downs
Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
So far I am loving this book. It takes you from past to present and back again. It is not the normal style of book that I would ever consider reading so it has opened my mind to a different type of read. love love love this book. I am on the last chapter and when it all started coming together It took me a second to clue in and put it all together. Wow.
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I love reading anything about the Romanovs...fiction, non-fiction...whatever it is, if it has Romanov's in it, I'll read it! This story is told through 3 different women in 3 different time periods. The present day scenario was very confusing to me until the end of the book, where it all came together and made sense. Overall an interesting "what if?" story!
Elizabeth Holtsclaw
Jul 31, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished
I feel terrible, I'm always rooting and cheering for an author's first novel to be spectacular. I just couldn't get into this book. I gave it 50 pages and had to give up. The writing is so corny and unsophisticated I started dreading picking it up.
Dec 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was surprisingly interesting. It was a very quick read which kept me captive the entire duration. I read it in less than a day. The main character was very realistic and I quite enjoyed her subtle spark. I appreciated that the male character wasn't just there as a love interest.
Taylor Hawkins
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Interesting story about an heir to the Russian throne who survives the revolution, well written and interesting.

I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads program.
Rebecca Ingram
Apr 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book made me want to read more about Russian history.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 3 Feb 24, 2015 05:47PM  
Romanovs: New book: Has anyone else read this? 19 29 Dec 12, 2013 09:29AM  

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Jennifer Laam is the author of THE SECRET DAUGHTER OF THE TSAR, THE TSARINA'S LEGACY, and the forthcoming THE LOST SEASON OF LOVE AND SNOW (January 2018), all from St. Martin's Griffin. Jennifer has lived in Los Angeles and the suburbs of Detroit, and has traveled in Russia, England, France, and Finland. When away from her computer, she enjoys fussing over animals, binge watching her favorite TV s ...more

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