Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Book Review: The Tsarina's Daughter

It's been a while since I've posted a book review!! I just finished reading Carolly Erickson's The Tsarina's Daughter. It started out really good, then became so-so, so overall it was ok.  

From the publisher's website "It is 1989 and Daria Gradov is an elderly grandmother living in the rural West. But she is not who she claims to be—the widow of a Russian immigrant of modest means. In actuality she began her life as the Grand Duchess Tatiana, known as Tania to her parents, Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra.
            At the heart of the story is young Tania, who lives a life of incomparable luxury in pre-Revolutionary Russia. When her younger brother is diagnosed with hemophilia and the key to his survival lies in the mysterious power of the illiterate monk Rasputin, it is merely an omen of much worse things to come. Soon war breaks out and revolution sweeps the family from power and into claustrophobic imprisonment in Siberia. Into Tania’s world comes a young soldier whose life she helps to save and who becomes her partner in daring plans to rescue the imperial family from certain death."

**Spoiler alert**
I do enjoy historical fiction, and was interested in this novel because I don't think I've read anything set in Russia, and nothing during the period of its final tsar's reign. While I expect an author to take liberties when writing a piece of historical fiction, I found it a bit odd that Erickson wrote this story as though Tatiana/Tania lived to tell her tale. I don't know why she didn't just write it from Tatiana's perspective but allow for her actual death to be the end of the story. I don't feel like there was anything added to the story by having her live while the rest of her family is murdered...if anything I felt like it took away from the story once I found out she lived. The other thing I didn't really like about this book, was that I found aspects of Tatiana's behaviour hard to believe. On a number of occasions when her family is under persecution, it is Tatiana that people come to when trying to formulate a plan for their escape and survival, and it is up to her to convince her father the Tsar that they must go through with these plans. Seriously? I just couldn't buy it! Finally, I don't know why this book was titled The Tsarina's Daughter....while the Tsarina was a predominant figure in the novel, she was not more so than the Tsar, Tatiana, or any other number of characters. Wow, I feel like I am talking myself out of liking this book at all!! I would give Erickson another chance with some of her other historical fiction novels as she definitely wrote in such a way that I felt like I was witnessing Russia during this time period.

Now to try to get some more non baby related reading in before our little one makes his or her appearance!

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