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Historical maven Erickson (The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette) delivers a top-notch narrative featuring beautiful and courageous Tatiana Romanov, daughter of Nicholas and Alexandra, during the final years of their reign. As life becomes increasingly bleak in prerevolution Russia, Tatiana sneaks out of the palace and sees firsthand the poverty and violence pervading her country. With Communist rebels shouting for equality and enemy countries invading, Tatiana befriends a young and destitute pregnant woman whose fiancé has just been murdered by Cossacks, opening up her conscience in unexpected ways. But as the czar falters and the czarina takes refuge from her afflictions in the company of Father Gregory (better known as Rasputin), Tatiana finds solace in the arms of a fierce patriot. Erickson creates an entirely convincing historical backdrop, and her tale of a family's fall from power and a country in transition is both romantic and gripping. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.