I’ve always been intrigued by the tragic story of Tsar Nicholas II and his family’s fate after the Communist Revolution in Russia. The years leading up to the takeover were full of odd events as well. I’d read enough online about the enigmatic figure of Rasputin and his relationship with Tsaritsa Aleksandra to be excited when I came across Robert Alexander‘s Rasputin’s Daughter.
I had never realized that Rasputin had any family. I had always pictured him as a villain and so I was surprised to find his daughter a character I could sympathize for.
I decided that since Rasputin’s Daughter was so well researched and written that I would continue reading Alexander’s books. Next I read The Romanov Bride.
This book follows the story of Elisavyeta (or Ella), sister of the tsaritsa Aleksandra, who also married a member of the Romanov family. But this story takes place as the Communist Revolution is building momentum and Ella’s fairytale life isn’t spared from immense changes.
The final book I read by Alexander is considered a Young Adult title. It’s The Kitchen Boy. This book was the shortest but was definitely my favorite.
I can’t help but think that the family knew their time was drawing short. They still managed to hold themselves with dignity and keep their family ties strong in the face of their less than generous captors and guards. Alexander told this story in a way that makes you believe you know the narrator’s identity until a plot twist at the end.
The Russian people of course have a different perspective on this tumultuous time in their history than I do, as I’m only an outsider looking in. Robert Alexander did spend a lot of time researching his books and are well worth the read. While we may not be able to point to a definitive “better” choice between the Tsars and the Communists, we should learn from these tragic events so that they need not be repeated.
FYI: a mass grave was uncovered in the Russian wilderness that contained the remains of Tsar Nicholas’ family and staff, but the bodies of the two youngest children were missing. Later a pyre was discovered with the remains of the children. The woman who eventually settled in America claiming to be Grand Duchess Anastasia was genetically proven to be unrelated to the family.