From the writings of Marie Nicolaevna Romanavna, age 19, July 17, 1918 - Midnight, in bed with her sister, Anastasia (Shvybz), in the Ipatiev Mansion in Ekaterinburg, during the last night of their lives.
"So much of my story unfolds by moonlight. This is a tale of midnight wakings and forced marches before dawn. Since this nightmare began, I do not dare undress, even to go to bed. I wear my dressing gown, my hair is prepared, and my shoes are set beside me. I have no idea when we will be summoned to rise. We have moved, as in the worst of dreams, slowly toward this place. There is no logic other than the sleepwalker's obedience - to follow instruction which we cannot resist: an actual lunacy.
"Now, I have control only of this - my record of what happened to us, to me. I have committed a single sin, my one terrible transgression. I pray to be absolved. In this recording of memory lies all meaning to my life. Let my will prevail in this, my ultimate wish, to salvage something of value from this tragedy. The rest, as my mother says, is in God's hands."
Here, in startling new historical detail, based on original diaries and letters, is the Romanov tragedy told from the point of view of the Tsar's third daughter, Marie, Anastasia's closest, older sister. Marie's story is unique - only Marie crossed the frozen Siberian river with her parents, and only Marie shared the full 78 days and nights in "The House of Special Purpose".
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Yes. Rose is a fine writer. Webb and Smith both did admirable jobs narrating. In addition, their voices sounded appropriately youthful.
Yes, with reservations. This should be obvious, but this is a heartbreaking work. No one is perfect, but this close-knit family was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time historically--none of them deserved to die. It was a fascinating and touching but very, very tragic story.
I did think that Rose dwelt in too much gruesome detail on the botched executions and the disposal of the bodies.
Marie's brief love affair was very memorable. But I should specify that the Passion in the title likely refers to Marie's being canonized as a "passion bearer"--that is, a saint who suffered but faced death in a Christ-like manner--in the Russian Orthodox Church.
What I liked best was how normal the imperial family was. Although they owned an enormous number of fine things, they were also happy living simple lives--as long as they had each other.
There have already been movies about Anastasia. More could certainly be done. I'll leave the casting to someone else.
I was gifted this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
- Elyse Becker
Sad and perplexing
- C. Millea