Review: The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra by Helen Rappaport

I have always been interested in Anastasia – who hasn’t really? As a child I read a book based on Anastasia’s diary and have since then been curious about all things Romanov. I remember in 2007 when I learned that the royal family’s bodies had been found and it had been confirmed that Anastasia had not escaped. I was so upset! I read The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra because I wanted to learn more about the family, especially the Grand Duchesses. Helen Rappaport really did her research. There were so many quotes and excerpts from diaries, not just from the whole family but also from royals across Europe who met them, those who worked for the family, and the friends they made when working in the hospitals during the war. The book starts out with their mother Alexandra, and a history of her life starting as a child and tells of when she moved from Germany to marry Nicholas and become Empress of Russia. Rappaport tells readers about all four girls but spends the most time on Olga and Tatiana. I had started reading this book hoping to learn much more about Anastasia but am now glad so much focus was on the older girls. Rappaport paints the picture of their young lives, how they spent their time, how much they loved, how they were perceived and how kind they were. You’re given a great sense of their home life, especially in terms of their mother. I finished the book still unsure of how I felt about Alexandra. This won’t be the last book I read on Russia’s last royal family. I am now so curious about the politics surrounding Nicholas and his abdication, and what role Rasputin played in the downfall. And who Rasputin really was – this book tells much more about his relationship with the girls then it does about him. I really recommend this book to those who are interested in the young Romanov girls – you’d have to be to read this book.

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