The Romanov Bride: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

The bestselling tale of Romanov intrigue from the author of The Kitchen Boy

Book groups and historical fiction buffs have made Robert Alexander's two previous novels word-of-mouth favorites and national bestsellers. Set against a backdrop of Imperial Russia's twilight, The Romanov Bride has the same enduring appeal. The Grand Duchess Elisavyeta's story begins like a fairy tale-a German princess renowned for her beauty and kind heart marries ...
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The Romanov Bride: A Novel

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Overview

The bestselling tale of Romanov intrigue from the author of The Kitchen Boy

Book groups and historical fiction buffs have made Robert Alexander's two previous novels word-of-mouth favorites and national bestsellers. Set against a backdrop of Imperial Russia's twilight, The Romanov Bride has the same enduring appeal. The Grand Duchess Elisavyeta's story begins like a fairy tale-a German princess renowned for her beauty and kind heart marries the Grand Duke Sergei of Russia and enters the Romanov's lavish court. Her husband, however, rules his wife as he does Moscow-with a cold, hard fist. And, after a peaceful demonstration becomes a bloodbath, the fires of the revolution link Elisavyeta's destiny to that of Pavel-a young Bolshevik-forever.


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In this robust historical set during the Romanov twilight, Alexander (The Kitchen Boy ) chronicles the careers of two emblematic individuals-the real-life Grand Duchess Elisavyeta ("Ella"), sister of Alexandra, the last tsarina, and the fictional Pavel, a young revolutionary. The author's extensive knowledge of Russia allows him to invigorate the narrative with telling details that bring the aristocrat Ella, who eventually became an Orthodox saint, convincingly to life. His depictions of workers' miseries, from the breadlines to sausage made from cat, are especially strong. Pavel takes part in key events affecting Ella-such as the planning for her husband's assassination-as well as in the street violence that metastasizes into the Bolshevik Revolution. Quick-cutting between the two characters' perspectives gives readers the opposing viewpoints of nobility and proletariat, emphasizing the obliviousness of each group to the other. As in Doctor Zhivago , coincidence abounds and some scenes and themes call to mind that classic, but this is a compelling journey through momentous events that wraps up with a fine, deeply moving finale. 6-city author tour. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal

As in his nationally best-selling The Kitchen Boyand Rasputin's Daughter, Alexander here melds historical fact with fictional speculation. Chapters alternate between the perspectives of Pavel, a peasant, and Elisavyeta (Ella), the German-born granddaughter of Queen Victoria, sister-in-law to Czar Nicholas and the privileged wife of Grand Duke Sergei Aleksandrovich, a Romanov. In 1905, czarist soldiers fire at a group of peaceful protesters, and Pavel's young bride is among the murdered. Determined to avenge her death and eliminate the aristocracy, Pavel becomes a dedicated revolutionary. When he assassinates Sergei, Ella's life takes a dramatic turn: she sells her worldly possessions, establishes a convent, and perseveres by helping Moscow's poor. Then, seized in the night, she comes face to face with Pavel in the distant woods of Siberia. Pavel's accounts, though sometimes bogged down by stock revolutionary phrases, reveal how ideology as well as riches can blind individuals. Similarities in Ella's and Pavel's situations provide one of many discussion points, which will draw the interest of book clubs; public libraries will also want copies for historical fiction fans.
—Kathy Piehl Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Kirkus Reviews
A grim follow-up to Alexander's other novels about the twilight of the Romanovs (Rasputin's Daughter, 2006, etc.). In this reverent account of the life of Grand Duchess Elisavyeta (known as Ella), her point of view alternates with that of Pavel, a peasant turned Red turned Gulag detainee, whose path crossed Ella's at crucial points in her doomed existence. A German granddaughter of Queen Victoria, Ella marries Sergei, the uncle of Tsar Nikolai II. Ella's sister Alexandra weds the Tsar. Grand Duke Sergei, a homosexual, rebuffs his wife's affections-the childless couple adopts Sergei's niece and nephew. "Alicky and Nicky," Tsar and Tsaritsa, are mostly offstage, although Nicky's loosening grip on his realm is all too apparent. In 1905, a large contingent of peasants and clerics marches peaceably on the Palace to beg the Tsar for economic relief. Soldiers fire into the unarmed crowd, killing hundreds, including Pavel's pregnant wife. In despair, Pavel joins the revolutionaries. An attempt on Sergei's life is thwarted by Pavel's reluctance to kill Ella and the children. But an assassin's bomb eventually catches Sergei alone. Ella forswears her opulent life to found a religious order. She establishes a convent hospital in Moscow to serve the poor. Pavel secretly trails her, marveling at her selflessness and daring as she ventures into Moscow's seamier slums. Just as conditions for the underclass are improving-Nicky's ministers have instituted reforms while wiping out thousands of communists-along comes World War I. During the February 1917 uprising, Ella's convent narrowly escapes destruction, but she rejects all offers of asylum and continues to aid the war-wounded, sick and hungry. After theOctober 1917 revolution, Ella's arrest is inevitable. Pavel follows Ella to Siberia as her guard, and they exchange their life stories, but death is on the horizon. Although the regime's free fall is vividly brought to life, the two principals are more archetypal than real. Still, a moving testament to a saintly woman's sad end. Agent: Marly Rusoff/Marly Rusoff & Associates
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440638008
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/17/2008
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 348,198
  • File size: 287 KB

Meet the Author

Robert Alexander has studied at Leningrad State University, worked for the U.S. government in the former U.S.S.R., and traveled extensively throughout Russia.

Biography

A devoted Russophile, Robert Alexander has studied at Leningrad State University, worked for the U.S. government, and traveled extensively throughout Russia. While he's already made a name for himself with his series of bestselling mysteries (written as R. D. Zimmerman), he has also written a well-received trilogy of Russian historical novels (The Kitchen Boy, Rasputin's Daughter, The Romanov Bride) about the last days of Empire.

Good To Know

In our interview, Alexander shared some fun and fascinating facts about himself with us:

"Most of my friends know: I'm much too outgoing to be living in quarantine, as I do (as any writer does). Most of my friends don't know: I can ride a unicycle, I can't balance my checkbook, I broke my back going over a ski jump, and I was once enrolled in Meats 104 and Beverage 111 at a prominent School of Hotel and Restaurants, which prompted me to drop out and start my first novel."

"What I would like to know about me from someone is, why do I keep going to Russia? I've been going there for 28 years, and it's definitely not a place to unwind. But it certainly is always interesting. And that's where I met my domestic partner, Lars, and we've now been together 25 years. And it's also where I met my business partner, Meri, and we've been in business now almost 14 years -- we have a customs clearance business and Barabu, a small chain of espresso/wine bars. And I always come up with some weird story idea over there. So maybe I just answered my own question.

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    1. Also Known As:
      R. D. Zimmerman, M. Masters
    2. Hometown:
      Minneapolis, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 23, 1952
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Russian Language and Creative Writing, Michigan State University, 1976

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 10 of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    This story takes place just prior to the fall of the Russian Empire. Readers follow the lives of two very different characters whose fates are tied together.

    When I first started this book, I thought it was so-so. Initially the Ella character was pious and uninteresting and the Pavel character a bit too predictable. But strangely enough as I rolled over to the 2nd half of the book, I appreciated and understood why the Ella was depicted as she was and grew to appreciate her. As I got closer to the end of the book, I had a harder and harder time putting the book down. It ended well with the perfect transition into the author's note that followed the story. As a reader I was hungry for more, then felt complete given this epilogue. It made for a nice way to travel back to the 21st century.

    For those who have not read any works by Robert Alexander, I would recommend starting with THE KITCHEN BOY. I thought it was a better read. Having said that, I'm glad I took the time to read THE ROMANOV BRIDE rather than prematurely returning it to the book shelf to gather dust.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2012

    great book check it out

    I really thought this book was great. it gave a chance to tell a really good story. i recommend you check this one out!!!!!

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