Sunday 15 July 2018

Carole's Sunday Review: The Romanov Empress

Author: CW Gortner
Title: The Romanov Empress
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: ebook
Published: July 10 2018
Where I Got It: My shelf (Netgalley)

Narrated by the mother of Russia’s last tsar, this vivid, historically authentic novel brings to life the courageous story of Maria Feodorovna, one of Imperial Russia’s most compelling women who witnessed the splendor and tragic downfall of the Romanovs as she fought to save her dynasty in the final years of its long reign.
Barely nineteen, Minnie knows that her station in life as a Danish princess is to leave her family and enter into a royal marriage—as her older sister Alix has done, moving to  England to wed Queen Victoria’s eldest son. The winds of fortune bring Minnie to Russia, where she marries the Romanov heir and becomes empress once he ascends the throne. When resistance to his reign strikes at the heart of her family and the tsar sets out to crush all who oppose him, Minnie—now called Maria—must tread a perilous path of compromise in a country she has come to love.
Her husband’s death leaves their son Nicholas as the inexperienced ruler of a deeply divided and crumbling empire. Determined to guide him to reforms that will bring Russia into the modern age, Maria faces implacable opposition from Nicholas’s strong-willed wife, Alexandra, whose fervor has lead her into a disturbing relationship with a mystic named Rasputin. As the unstoppable wave of revolution rises anew to engulf Russia, Maria will face her most dangerous challenge and her greatest heartache.
From the opulent palaces of St. Petersburg and the intrigue-laced salons of the aristocracy to the World War I battlefields and the bloodied countryside occupied by the Bolsheviks, C. W. Gortner sweeps us into the anarchic fall of an empire and the complex, bold heart of the woman who tried to save it. 

I really enjoy this author's work. I have read a few and there are more I want to read. This one landed on my lap and I've been drooling over this book for weeks. I wanted to wait until after or near its publication. 

The story follows Minnie/Maria who is Tsar Nicholas' mother. We all know the tale of the fall of Nicholas, his family, and Imperial Russia. However, how many people can they really know his mother? I know I know very little of this force of nature. In this tale, we get to see her young, newly married, become the empress, become a mother, and see her lose everything. So sad, so very sad. I cannot imagine seeing everything fall away and never really, truly knowing what happened to part of your family. She lost so many of her family members during the fall of the monarchy. 

If only those stubborn men had listened to her!! That darn Russian pride was the downfall. If they had listened to her and followed through on her father-in-law's plan to follow in England's footsteps ALL OF THIS COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED. But no. The stubbornness of males caused so many needless deaths. They could have avoided the fall of a great country. 

The story was told wonderfully. I enjoyed every moment. There were a couple of slow moments, but they did not last long. Maria had very time to rest. Lots to do especially with all those kids and constant issues popping up. 

Yes, she was a stubborn woman and could be harsh, but I was on her side pretty much for everything especially Nicholas' wife. Yes, let Nicky marry her...but I really feel that Alexandra was a huge factor in the fall of the monarchy especially with her fascination with that man. 

I liked Sasha too, but in the end, he was a stubborn male who didn't realize the people give power NOT god. England learned this and some other countries did too THUS why their royalty got to keep their place. A pity indeed. 

The ending was so sad, of course. I did get some tears especially thinking how monstrous revolutionaries can be. THE CHILDREN! They did nothing. UGH!!!!! So sad. My heart broke for Maria. She lost everything and pretty much everyone; such a tragic story. I loved it though. This was real and I felt the author really brought the characters to life. Splendid, indeed. 

In the end, this is a must-read for anyone who likes historical fictions. Heck. For anyone who likes a good people story. The author is such a good storyteller and knows how to bring historical people to life! Just note...there is no HEA in this one. Very sad. I'll stamp this with 5 stars. :3


  1. I've always been fascinated with the Romanovs and need to pick this up.

  2. This sounds like a fantastic book. I do enjoy historical fiction and I have read anything about the Romanov family. Great review!

  3. What an amazing life she must have had, but yeah sad. Such a tragic ending. And why do children always have to suffer?

  4. I really know very little of the Russian history, except modern history from when I was growing up. I've never been a huge fan of historic fiction, but I like the idea of learning more about Russian history.

  5. I'm going to have to pick this up even though I'll go in knowing the ending is sad. I recently read I Was Anastasia and enjoyed it and have been in the mood to pick up another Romanov book. Nice review!



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