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European Royalty Group Reads > The Kitchen Boy: Overall (Potential Spoilers)

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message 1: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Feel free to discuss anything about the book in this thread. If you (and others) are here, you (and they) have finished the book, so don't worry about posting spoilers. If you haven't finished the book, you may not want to read anything here yet!

message 2: by Sara W (new)


OMG!!! I NEVER anticipated that ending! I want to reread the book now to see what the blond bearded guard does throughout the book. All the information that came out at the end kind of overwhelmed me though and got a little confusing. I loved the twist that he wasn't the kitchen boy (crazy!), but him marrying the Grand Duchess Maria was a little bit much for me. I probably would have liked that ending more if I read this before Alexei and Maria's remains were found in 2007. I couldn't quite buy the happier ending since I knew she did die, but regardless it was romantic in a way. I'm not sure either how I feel about the guy killing himself. I can understand his rationale (wanting to go to hell or whatever so that he's not forgiven for the sins he committed), but it's still sad since it seems like his wife clearly forgave him. I kind of feel like I have to read the ending again to get a better feel for it.

And wow, those pages dealing with the firing squad deaths were really sad and powerful. It's gruesome, but I prefer the books that don't sugar-coat scenes like this (same as The Innocent Traitor once again). It makes it real to me, and it was real. Oh god, those poor girls with those corsets! I'd rather have been Nicholai and just taken out right away than being those girls lasting for 20 minutes being shot at while my parents and brother and servants were dead and then being sliced at with knives and bayonets. Terrible, just terrible!

message 3: by Sera (new)

Sera ***SPOILERS***

There is a movie about the last days of Nicholas and Alexandra. It's actually an old but very good film, and the slaughter at the end is truly mortifying.

I thought that ending was a wishful take on real events, but what's interesting is that the rumor that Alexei survived was out there for such a long time until it was put to rest as you stated in 2007. The book is still powerful, though, don't you think?

message 4: by April Ann (last edited Jan 17, 2009 07:49AM) (new)

April Ann (bloomer) | 83 comments I read this book last year. It would be a great read for a high school history student. Good story!

Agreed that it is a powerful story even though we know now what happened to the "missing" Romanovs.

message 5: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Oh yeah, I definitely think it's a powerful book. I randomly keep coming back to different parts of it throughout the day, so I'm thinking I need to raise my rating from 4 to 5 stars because the more I think about it, the more I realized that I really loved this book.

It's crazy too that it took so long to find the majority of the family. It's totally understandable that people might have thought the two missing ones survived when they weren't discovered with the rest of the family. Have you read anything Sera about how those two got separated, or is it just a mystery?

message 6: by Mandy (last edited Jan 19, 2009 08:29AM) (new)

Mandy Moody | 544 comments I'm interested to know if Sera has read anything about how Aleksi and Maria were separated, also.

I figured that May was Maria early - from the time that he mentioned she was 'his favorite'. I figured someone had to have survived!
As far as Misha being the blond soldier, not the kitchen boy, I figured that out about a page before Marina told us - so I don't think it counts. I did notice all the references to him throughout the book, so the pieces just sort of fell into place for me.

It's no wonder there were so many rumors of survivors with the government denying everything for so long. What a terrible civil war!
Their deaths were horrifying. After I read that section I went back and looked to see how long it was - so short! It felt like eternity while I was reading it. That's some very effective writing, to convey that feeling.

I think Misha killing himself was really important to the story. It's so understandable - being that wracked with guilt over not only what he was part of, but also over having survived it. Moving on, being happy, must have made him hate himself. I think it was important for the readers to be able to grasp that guilt - killing himself at the end of his life to ensure he didn't go to heaven is so strong a statement that you can't help but understand how he felt.

I agree with April - would be a great book for high schoolers! I really appreciated that it was quite short - no need to spend 500 pages telling a short story like this one. It was very good.

message 7: by Aimee (new)

Aimee | 11 comments I read this book several years ago and I remember I devoured it! I enjoy novels that take historical mysterys and try to explain them (no matter how imaginative the explanation).

This was a wonderful book, hearing you all talk about it makes me want to read it again!

message 8: by Sera (new)

Sera I have read some information on Aleksei and his sister (either Maria or Anastasia whose corpse was also missing from the basement where the killings took place). There is nothing to explain why the two were separated and cremated and the rest of the family was not. Until the remains of Aleksei were found in 2007, there were a number of imposters who came forward, claiming that they were the heir of Nicholas II, but none were able to successfully convince the Russian people or most anyone else for that matter.

I had also read that some believed that the Whites in Russia had helped Aleksei to escape before the killings and that they had brought him to live with and aunt and uncle somewhere in Scandinavia. The story goes that Aleksei never came forward to show that he had survived, because the fear was that he would be killed. Others claimed, that even if that were the case, the hemophelia would have killed him at an early age.

message 9: by Aimee (new)

Aimee | 11 comments Ok, I know you are all done disscusing this now but I couldn't resist reading it again. Even knowing how it ended, it kept me rivited. This is such a powerful book. What amazes me is Maria capacity for forgiveness. Can you imagine having that much goodness inside you? Most of us have a hard time with the petty everyday stuff, let along something that big. Again, Wow....

message 10: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Oh, no problem Aimee! You can pop into any of the older discussion threads whenever you want. This is definitely a book that I'll read again. Yeah, Maria's capacity for forgiveness was amazing, and the fact that she was trusting and courageous enough to run off and hide/live when him right after all of that happened was incredible too.

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