The Romanov Empress: A Novel of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna

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The Romanov Empress: A Novel of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna opens with Princess Dagmar of Denmark (Minnie) helping prepare her sister Princess Alexandra to become the wife of the Prince of Wales. Minnie is filled with trepidation at how royal marriages work yet is spirited and less accepting of convention than her sister. Minnie herself ends up married at age nineteen to Alexander III, Emperor of Russia. She becomes Mother of the last Tsar and experiences unendurable family tragedies at the end of the Romanov dynasty. Gortner’s The Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia also illuminated the rewards and perils of being born a valuable political commodity.

Her son’s selection of Princess Alix to be his wife troubled her, and justifiably so. The novel imagines Minnie saying, “Life was easier when I could pretend Alicky of Hesse did not exist.” Alix could not have been more different from her mother-in-law: she was detached, superstitious, and fanatically possessive. Minnie survived the Russian Revolution and has not had as much written about her as some of the other major players (their fates are described in the Afterword). This novel more than compensates for that, giving an empathetic recounting of the life of a resilient spirit.


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Author C. W. Gortner
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 464 pages
Publisher Ballantine Books
Publish Date 2018-Jul-10
ISBN 9780425286166
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue August 2018
Category Historical Fiction
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