Author: Jennifer Laam
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publish Date: October 22, 2013
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.
Why You're Reading This Book:
- You're a historical fiction fan.
From Goodreads.com: "
In her riveting debut novel, The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, Jennifer Laam seamlessly braids together the stories of three women: Veronica, Lena, and Charlotte. Veronica is an aspiring historian living in present-day Los Angeles when she meets a mysterious man who may be heir to the Russian throne. As she sets about investigating the legitimacy of his claim through a winding path of romance and deception, the ghosts of her own past begin to haunt her. Lena, a servant in the imperial Russian court of 1902, is approached by the desperate Empress Alexandra. After conceiving four daughters, the Empress is determined to sire a son and believes Lena can help her. Once elevated to the Romanov’s treacherous inner circle, Lena finds herself under the watchful eye of the meddling Dowager Empress Marie. Charlotte, a former ballerina living in World War II occupied Paris, receives a surprise visit from a German officer. Determined to protect her son from the Nazis, Charlotte escapes the city, but not before learning that the officer’s interest in her stems from his longstanding obsession with the fate of the Russian monarchy. Then as Veronica's passion intensifies, and her search for the true heir to the throne takes a dangerous turn, the reader learns just how these three vastly different women are connected. The Secret Daughter of the Tsar is thrilling from its first intense moments until its final, unexpected conclusion."
My Two Cents:
"The Secret Daughter of the Tsar" is an alternate history of the Romanov family, Russia's last royal rulers. I was excited about this book because I am absolutely fascinated with Russia and its history, especially during the 20th century to present day. I'm always excited when I can find a historical fiction that takes on Russia (there aren't that many out there!!! why???). Alternate histories are a little bit more dicey for me usually. It's sometimes hard for me to get into the mindset of suspending my disbelief about histories that I know fairly well. In the case of this book, I totally ate this book up!
The narrative is split between three main characters. There is Lena, servant to the Romanov family, who becomes a close confidante of the last Tsarina, Alexandra. There is Charlotte, a young woman in 1940s, who is being followed by a Nazi officer who seems to be convinced that she is someone who she's sure she isn't. Then there is Veronica, a Russian history professor at a small college, who meets a mysterious man who may be hiding a huge family secret. All three of these women come from very different walks of life and they are all really fascinating. There were a lot of really fantastic twists and turns surrounding these characters and I loved following them and putting the pieces together.
The story of this book was fascinating. Yes, it's an alternate history but Lamm does a great job at making the story feel like it could be plausible. Many of us history lovers have heard about the various pretenders who claimed to be one of the Tsar's daughters (mostly Anastasia) but this book has a slightly different take, which makes it even more fascinating.
Overall, this book has a great storyline and a really interesting take on an infamous family!