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The Romanov Bride: A Novel by Robert Alexander: A Book Review

The Romanov Bride: A Novel
Author: Robert Alexander
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Viking
Release Date: 2008
Pages: 336
Source: Personal Collection
Synopsis: As the Russia of Nicholas and Aleksandra rushes full speed toward catastrophe, The Romanov Bride follows the lives of two revolutionary souls, that of Grand Duches Elisavyeta (or Ella), sister of the tsaritsa Aleksandra, and that of Pavel, a simple village man yearning for more.
The life of Grand Duchess Elisavyeta begins like a fairy tale - born a princess of Germany, she marries the Grand Duke Sergei of Russia and enters the most lavish and magnificent court in the world, that of the mighty Romanovs, where she is renowned for her sumptuous fashion, jewels, and beauty, not to mention her kind heart. Her husband, however, possesses no such grace, and he rules Moscow as he does his wife, with a cold, hard fist.

     For Pavel and his bridge, though, living in Sankt Peterburg means sharing a crowded cellar with other families, and being barely able to afford bread. Nevertheless, they are full of optimism, for their grandparents were serfs and this young couple is the first to leave the countryside to seek a better existence.
  
     However, after an explosive confrontation between peaceful demonstrators and tsarist soldiers, the lives of Ella and Pavel take two very different turns, but the fire of revolutionary Russia eventually links their fates forever.

     Robert Alexander once again masterfully combines the power of true history and riveting storytelling to bring this fascinating and legendary period to life.

      My Review: The Romanov Bride is a fictional biography about the life of The Grand Duchess Elisavyeta, the sister of the Tsarina Alexandra. It is set in the backdrop of imperial Russia that is on the brink of the Russian Revolution. The story tells the of the Grand Duchess Elisavyeta marriage to a Romanov to her sad tragic end. It also focuses on how the revolution greatly impacted the country of Russia. It is not only a period of darkness for the nobility but also for the common class.

     The story is told in vignettes depicting certain events from the life of the Grand Duchess Elisavyeta. It is told from Elisavyeta’s point of view, but also from Pavel, who is a Revolutionist and is her initial enemy. At first, it seems that Elisavyeta and Pavel are very different. Elisavyeta’s political views are for imperial autocratic rule, and Pavel’s believes that the power should be given to the people. When Elisavyeta’s husband is killed by the revolutionaries, she gives up her wealth and devote herself to live in poverty, and become a daughter of God, and help the poor, needy, sick, and wounded citizens of Russia. When Pavel’s wife is killed by the Imperial guards, he turns to revenge, anger, and hatred. He ruthlessly murders whoever gets in the way of the Revolution. Yet is seems that Ella is light, while Pavel is dark. Although they have taken different paths, they still are concerned about the fate of the country of Russia, and both of them are on a spiritual path of repentance.

     Overall, this story is about repentance and redemption. These two people are seeking for light in a country that is brutal and violent. the setting was well-developed. However, I found that while the characters had potential, I found that the way they were written fell flat and was poorly executed. Elisavyeta was one-dimensional. She is portrayed as a saint. There is nothing contradictory to her that made her seem realistic. We are more told of their personalities and actions rather than shown. I recommend this story to people interested in learning about the imperial Russia, the Russian Revolution, and the Romanovs.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Here is the author's official book trailer for The Romanov Bride:

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