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Romanov ~ Nadine Brandes

January 12, 2019

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Genre: Young Adult/Historical Fantasy

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

ISBN: 9780785217244

352 pages

Source: Publisher via Netgalley

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

I will openly admit that I had the soundtrack running to the old animated version of Anastasia the entire time I was reading this book.

Like so many reimaginings of the fall of the most famous Russian monarchy, Brandes’s Romanov is filled with magic, treachery, and adventure. Her story, though, has the added bonus of some serious historical research woven in.

The story follows the formerly royal family through their post-revolution exile, packing history with the soft, glittering fabric of the heavy superstition and magic that seeped into life at the time.

Brandes’s Anastasia is every bit as self assured and spunky as the animated version, though she has far more depth. I fell in love with the entire family but I also fell in love with their captors. Not a soul slipped through the pages that was not fleshed out.

I am so excited for this story to hit shelves in May and I’m equally glad I was able to read it early.

Now. A note:

I have such a complicated relationship with Romanov history.

I’m a revolutionary in my heart, as well as a socialist.

I love progress and equality and people having a say in their lives. I’m a social worker, for heaven’s sake.

And I do abhor a monarchy.

That said, as someone from a Russian family, a Russian minor in undergrad, and a Political Science Major on top of that, it’s pretty safe to say, Russian political history sits weirdly and complicated in my heart.

Like America (and, honestly, most countries), there’s been some drama.

We all know that Acton quote “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Nowhere has that been more glaringly apparent in the halls of Russian history.

The Romanovs were neither all good nor were they all bad. The same can be said for the Bolsheviks.

Add in the depthless history, implication, and speculation of rumors involving magic, sorcery, and subsequent persecution of Rasputin, and you’ve got another full dissertation on “How Everything Went Terribly Wrong”.

The stories and legends that have come from the revolution of 1917 have made analyzing the actual events incredibly complicated.

All of this said, I went into the book, as removed from actual events as possible. If I looked at the entire story as something separated from my feelings around actual historical events (though Brandes did incredible research in that area and should be applauded for it) I could better enjoy the story without complication stepping in my way every five minutes.

Romanov is such an excellent book and despite my heavy pondering on the time period, I thoroughly enjoyed the story.

The finished book will be out on May 7, 2019 and I highly recommend it.

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