Book review stop! Today I’m delighted to be the host for The Last Grand Duchess, a biography written by B. Turnbull
First thing first, let me thank the publisher, HarperCollins, for providing me with an e-copy of this book. Much obliged *hat tip*
MEET THE BOOK
Grand Duchess Olga Romanov comes of age amid a shifting tide for the great dynasties of Europe. But even as unrest simmers in the capital, Olga is content to live within the confines of the sheltered life her parents have built for and her three sisters: hiding from the world on account of their mother’s ill health, their brother Alexei’s secret affliction, and rising controversy over Father Grigori Rasputin, the priest on whom the Tsarina has come to rely. Olga’s only escape from the seclusion of Alexander Palace comes from her aunt, who takes pity on her and her sister Tatiana, inviting them to grand tea parties amid the shadow court of Saint Petersburg. Finally, she glimpses a world beyond her mother’s Victorian sensibilities—a world of opulent ballrooms, scandalous flirtation, and whispered conversation.
But as war approaches, the palaces of Russia are transformed. Olga and her sisters trade their gowns for nursing habits, assisting in surgeries and tending to the wounded bodies and minds of Russia’s military officers. As troubling rumours about her parents trickle in from the Front, Olga dares to hope that a budding romance might survive whatever the future may hold. But when tensions run high and supplies run low, the controversy over Rasputin grows into fiery protest, and calls for revolution threaten to end 300 years of Romanov rule.
At turns glittering and harrowing, The Last Grand Duchess is story about dynasty, duty, and love, but above all, it’s the story of a family who would choose devotion to each other over everything—including their lives.
Publication date: 08/02/22
READ MY REVIEW
Cover: Lovely. It’s so delicate.
The first episode of my exciting new series called ‘Cleaning up my backlog’ features The Last Grand Duchess, a biography of the late Grand Duchess Olga Romanova.
Let me say right from the start that this book is amazing. Its main feature is the obvious amount of research Turnbull put into it, something I’m grateful for. It allowed me to learn more about the House of Romanov and the early ‘900–from an unique standpoint.
The timeline is not linear, which is something that tends to get on my nerves quite often; however, I don’t find it jarring here, probably because the epilogue is not a mystery to anyone. Rather, the slow spiraling of the events made me go all *wringing hands* while reading, searching for the exact moment the Imperial family’s demise became–inevitable? A given, known to everybody but them?
Or maybe they’ve been doomed from the start. The melancholia that surrounds the Romanov permeates every page, and it’s hard to imagine a different ending for them.
Turnbull’s writing skills are exquisite. Olga and her sisters, her brother, her parents and relatives, they all come alive through the pages, turning The Last Grand Duchess into an immersive read.
5 stars on GR.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Bryn is a writer of historical fiction. Equipped with a Master of Letters in Creative Writing from the University of St. Andrews, a Master of Professional Communication from Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University), and a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from McGill University, Bryn, who resides in Toronto, writes books intended to drive readers to similar levels of distraction – to transport them into different eras and different worlds, but hopefully not into the hospital.
With a penchant for fountain pens that leak ink onto her fingers, antique furniture, and traveling, Bryn is, admittedly, an old soul with limited patience for modern conveniences – but if you want to get in touch with her, email – that most ancient of online technologies – is the best way to do it.
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