the last romanovs

Book Review - The Lost Crown by Sarah Miller

Summary: Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia. Like the fingers on a hand–first headstrong Olga; then Tatiana, the tallest; Maria the most hopeful for a ring; and Anastasia, the smallest. These are the daughters of Tsar Nicholas II, grand duchesses living a life steeped in tradition and privilege. They are each on the brink of starting their own lives, at the mercy of royal matchmakers. The summer of 1914 is that precious last wink of time when they can still be sisters together–sisters that link arms and laugh, sisters that share their dreams and worries, and flirt with the officers of their imperial yacht.

But in a gunshot the future changes for these sisters and for Russia.

As World War I ignites across Europe, political unrest sweeps Russia. First dissent, then disorder, mutiny, and revolution. For Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, the end of their girlhood together is colliding with the end of more than they ever imagined.


Review: Wow…this book was very, very emotional. It chronicles the last four years of the Romanov’s lives, and I spent most the book dreading the ending that I knew was coming. I absolutely fell in love with this book and the four sisters who narrated it. As I got further and further into it, I felt like I was there, experiencing everything they went through: the start of WWI, the months Olga and Tatiana spend as Red Cross nurses, the measles, and the house arrests in their palace, Tobolsk, and finally the Ipatiev house in Ekaterinberg.

Sarah Miller gave each of the four grand duchesses their own distinct voices and personalities. Olga, the oldest, was the headstrong daughter, but she was also a worrywart. Being an oldest child myself, I understand her need to hide important yet scary things from Maria, Anastasia, Aleksei, and in some cases, even Tatiana.

Tatiana, the second eldest, was given the nickname “Governess” because she was strict and forever scolding them. She was also notedly the most elegant and beautiful of the sisters, but that didn’t stop her from speaking her mind whenever the time warranted.

Marie was amazing, and so adorable. She was relatable because she was just so nice to everyone, even her captors, and always tried to have a kind word for everyone. All of the deaths were gruesome but hers bothered me the most. Her kindness shone through their adversity and she proves to be a role model.

My favorite character was Anastasia. She was seriously a hilarious character and I can only imagine the mischief she caused her older sisters. Being the youngest, she was the family clown, but she had her angsty moments as well. After all, the chapters where she worries about how she could still be funny when she felt she had no reason to laugh are some of the strongest in the novel.

This books is definitely a masterpiece and it fed my growing appetite for novels about the last days of Imperial Russia. I so wished the book could end in a different way, but unfortunately, it doesn’t in history. It’s at times like these, when I read about atrocious crimes like what happened to the Romanovs, when I hate that I love history and historical fiction.

Nicholas, Alexandra, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Aleksei, you will always be remembered, and I hope you are resting in peace.

Rating: 5/5

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Nicholas II, the last Emperor of Russia by Olga

Last Words of the Romanovs

Alexei I: “I would never have married had I known that my time would be so brief. If I had known that, I would not have taken upon myself double tears.” 1676

Peter the Great: (1, written).“Leave all to…” (2, spoken). “Anna” He was calling his daughter’s name but was unconscious when she returned to his room. He died the next morning. 1725

Peter II: “Get the sledge ready, I want to go to my sister.” Spoken while delirious. His elder sister had died two years earlier at age 14. 1730

Peter III: “It was not enough then to prevent my reigning over Sweden, and to tear from my head the crown of Russia! They must have my life besides!” 1762

Paul I: “Gentlemen, in heaven’s name, spare me. At least give me time to say my prayers.” Strangled after refusing to sign his abdication. 1801

Alexander I: (1). “What a beautiful day.” (2). “Give me the remedies that you judge necessary.” 1825

Elizabeth Alexeievna: “Do not worry too much about me, but if I dared, I would like to follow the one who has been my very life.” 1826

Nicholas I: “Now I shall ascend to pray for Russia, and for you all. After Russia, I loved you more than anything else in the world. Serve Russia.” 1855

Alexandra Feodorovna: “Niki, I am coming to you.” She’s referring to her late husband, Nicholas I of Russia. She died in 1860, in the Alexander Palace.

Alexander II: Home to the palace to die…His guards heard him utter this phrase after he was attacked with bombs by anarchists in an assassination attempt. His stomach and legs were bleeding profusely and he died hours later in the Winter Palace. 1881

Alexander III: (1). “I feel the end approaching. Be calm. I am calm.” (2). “How good!” as the priest placed his hands on his head after he received the Last Rites. 1894

AFTER THE COLLAPSE OF THE ROMANOV DYNASTY

Nicholas II: “What? What?” He uttered those words in shock after he was told that he, his wife, five children and four servants would be shot immediately. 1918

Sergei Mikhailovich: “Tell me why? I have never been involved in politics. I loved sports, played billiards, and was interested in numismatics.” 1918

St. Elizabeth Feodorovna: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Those words were reportedly uttered by Elizabeth shortly before she was struck in the head and thrown in an abandoned mine shaft. 1918

Dmitri Constantinovich: “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Spoken while he and other 3 Romanovs were being lined up to be shot. 1919

Olga Alexandrovna: “The sunset is over.” 1960

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The last Romanov patriarchs at their Coronation Mass, painting by Laurits Regner Tuxen, c. 1898.

“The coronation in Moscow on May 26th 1896 was the most opulent celebration which I ever witnessed. It bordered close to the Oriental and lasted for 10 days. In Moscow the cathedral was filled with paintings on gold ground of saints and all priests were dressed in gold robes applied with embroidery and precious stones. A very deep feeling of mysticism was in all the ceremonies and you could feel the tradition of Byzance… And following the prayer for the Emperor he gets up and then is the only person standing at that moment in the whole Russian Empire… To look at all this must have been like a fantastic dream because the sun was shining an all.” - Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse, Brother of Empress Alexandra, Grandson of Queen Victoria

does anyone else have that one character who is basically your fictional soulmate? like you’re actually in love with this person even though they’re trapped in a tv show/book series/movie/ect. and like, you love them slightly more than all the other characters. this character is your precious baby and you are extremely emotionally attached to them. and then you’ll be watching another show/movie, or reading another book, or playing another video game, or maybe just reading/watching a new part of the same series, and you’ll see another character you really like and you’ll feel guilty? because it feels like you’re cheating on your favorite character?? is this a thing that happens to other people? or is it just me??? 

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18th May 2016 marks the 148th birth anniversary of Nicholas Alexandrovich Romanov, the last Emperor of Russia.

“He had made many mistakes, what ruler has not? He was neither a great captain nor a great prince. He was only a true, simple man of average ability, of merciful disposition, upheld in all his daily life by his faith in God. But the brunt of supreme decisions centred upon him. At the summit where all problems are reduced to Yea or Nay, where events transcend the faculties of man and where all is inscrutable, he had to give the answers. His was the function of the compass needle. War or no war? Advance or retreat? Right or left? Democratise or hold firm? Quit or persevere? These were the battlefields of Nicholas II. Why should he reap no honour from them? The devoted onset of the Russian armies which saved Paris in 1914; the mastered agony of the munitionless retreat; the slowly regathered forces; the victories of Brusilov; the Russian entry upon the campaign of 1917, unconquered, stronger than ever; has he no share in these? In spite of errors vast and terrible, the regime he personified, over which he presided, to which his personal character gave the vital spark, had at this moment won the war for Russia.

He is about to be struck down. A dark hand, gloved at first in folly, now intervenes. Exit Tsar. Deliver him and all he loved to wounds and death. Belittle his efforts, asperse his conduct, insult his memory; but pause then to tell us who else was found capable. Who or what could guide the Russian State? Men gifted and daring; men ambitious and fierce, spirits audacious and commanding - of these there were no lack. But none could answer the few plain questions on which the life and fame of Russia turned’

Winston Churchill