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A compelling alternate history of the Romanov family in which a secret fifth daughter—smuggled out of Russia before the revolution—continues the royal lineage to dramatic consequences
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.
A little bird told me something. That Historians secretly love to read alternate histories. I’m here to qualify that secret. We love to read well-written and believable alternate histories. The Secret Daughter of the Tsar almost made me want to change my focus of study as a historian-in-training, and that is saying a lot. These days, I am lucky to finish a book in a week. I finished this one in a few sittings. Reading about the tragedy and intrigue that surrounds the Imperial Romanov family NEVER GETS OLD.
The Romanov Family circa 1916.
If you are a writer, or an aspiring one, you have probably come across the piece of advice that recommends “writing about what you know” at one time or another. The author, a Historian herself, writes The Secret Daughter of the Tsar from the perspective of Veronica, a struggling historian being tossed around the cogs of academia, and two other women who’s stories unfold in different time periods.
Veronica is both vulnerable and bold, my favorite combination. I loved reading from her perspective the most, especially when she enters into a fast and curious romance with a mysterious hunk who has his own special interests in Russian history.
The novel is an exciting and absorbing book that takes the reader on an intellectual adventure and into super cool museums and archives. History buff or not, any reader will absolutely love the variety of experiences, mysterious romance, and clever story line offered in The Secret Daughter of the Tsar.
Setting the Mood:
I love Russian classical music as much as I love Russian history, so here is an AMAZING album to listen to while you read:
And check out these other great novels set in historical Russia: