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Even from behind the throne, a woman can rule.
Narrated by the mother of Russia’s last tsar, this vivid, historically authentic novel brings to life the courageous story of Maria Feodorovna, one of Imperial Russia’s most compelling women, who witnessed the splendor and tragic downfall of the Romanovs as she fought to save her dynasty in its final years.
Barely 19, Minnie knows that her station in life as a Danish princess is to leave her family and enter into a royal marriage - as her older sister, Alix, has done, moving to England to wed Queen Victoria’s eldest son. The winds of fortune bring Minnie to Russia, where she marries the Romanov heir, Alexander, and once he ascends the throne, becomes empress. When resistance to his reign strikes at the heart of her family and the tsar sets out to crush all who oppose him, Minnie - now called Maria - must tread a perilous path of compromise in a country she has come to love.
Her husband’s death leaves their son, Nicholas, as the inexperienced ruler of a deeply divided and crumbling empire. Determined to guide him to reforms that will bring Russia into the modern age, Maria faces implacable opposition from Nicholas’s strong-willed wife, Alexandra, whose fervor has led her into a disturbing relationship with a mystic named Rasputin. As the unstoppable wave of revolution rises anew to engulf Russia, Maria will face her most dangerous challenge and her greatest heartache.
From the opulent palaces of St. Petersburg and the intrigue-laced salons of the aristocracy to the World War I battlefields and the bloodied countryside occupied by the Bolsheviks, C. W. Gortner sweeps us into the anarchic fall of an empire and the complex, bold heart of the woman who tried to save it.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Mark Regiec on 07-13-18
One of C.W. Gortner Best!!
I am big Fan of C.W. Gortner, historical fiction. I have always been interested Russian history, and the revolution. So for me this was the best of both. I got C.W. Gortner writing and Russian history in one great book. I have learned a lot from this book, and it is definitely worth buying.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By leongork on 08-12-18
Inside the mind of an empress
The world of common people is far from the world of royalty. Royalty collapses when the two worlds collide and royalty pays the price. The author has done a brilliant job of bringing us into the lives of royalty but I can’t avoid the disgust I feel when contrasting this with my knowledge of the impoverished state of the common people. The author has succeeded so well in arousing sympathy for the ultimate fate of the royals and for the empress, throughout the story, that I almost suppress the joy which I want to feel, when they finally get their just deserts.when the fall into the hands of the Bolsheviks. Her sympathetic portrayal of the empress as a kind, motherly lady doesn’t manage to disguise her autocratic tendencies. I think that herein lies the brilliance of the author; every word of the story rings true and I feel grateful to the author for giving us such a beautiful story. It’s beauty lies in it’s truth, even though I’m aware that most of the story is the author’s imagination.