Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Last Romanov by Dora Levy Mossanean

Darya Spiridova is born out of love with an opal eye and a special gift for seeing the future. After her parents tragic death, she is taken in by the Romanov Tsarina for her calming nature and healing gifts. After predicting the birth of Tsarevich Alexei, Darya becomes his godmother and caregiver. Mother Russia is a hostile place and Darya tries to ignore the anti-Imperial sentiments. However, the become more apparent after Darya falls in love with a Jewish Court Painter, a man far below her station. She hides her love, living two separate lives. When the Imperial Mood finally breaks and the family is taken hostage, she accompanies the family and leaves her lover. After the family is murdered, Darya and her lover are reunited. Broken and Haunted, Darya believes Alexi survived. And now, a 104 year old woman with a faberge egg living in the old Entertainment Palace, she refuses to give up the search for the heir.

The Last Romanov is an interesting blend of myth and history. Darya is a wonderful narrator. Her devotion to Alexei is heart warming and heart breaking all at once. Mossanean gave the Imperial Family a certain humanity. I was touched in one scene where hemophiliac Alexei falls and begs Darya not to tell his parents, as he will be certainly sent to bed.
The mysticism was a turn off to some, but I enjoyed it. This time in Russian history is shrouded in mystery, with tragic results. I loved how the author gave each time period a distinctive feel. The past glittered and simmered, while the present was depressive and heavy.  The end wrapped up all the loose ends in a way that made me happy. 


  1. I am still on the fence about this one. The premise sounds interesting and I do like books about the Romanovs so I might have to give it a try :)

  2. It is very different. A lot of the book takes place during the Imperial Reign. But the book has an odd feel about it. But I did like it!

  3. I really do want to read this one. I've been loving all the Russian fiction that has been coming out recently.

  4. I've also got Kathryn Harrison's Enchantments waiting on me! Kinda excited about it too!!
    And loved the Winter Palace!!