The Lost Crown

Gr 8 Up—This story of the last months of the Romanovs is told from the perspectives of the four grand duchesses: Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia. It is not an easy book to read—Russian names and nicknames, among other things, present constant challenges, but for dedicated readers, it is well worth the effort. The four points of view begin as virtually indistinguishable from one another, but emerge as strong, separate voices as the lives of the Romanovs become more and more circumscribed. Miller asks her readers to view events through the eyes of these girls while also applying the lens of historical perspective. Thus, Rasputin is loved and revered by the Romanov sisters. The grand duchesses lead, by their own account at least, a fairly Spartan life in the palace, which would hardly be the opinion of the Bolsheviks. They are surprised by the animosity that their beloved peasantry feels toward them, and are shocked by the small acts of cruelty perpetrated on them by their guards. The Lost Crown is a wonderful way to demonstrate that all history—not just historical fiction—has a point of view, but it is also a finely crafted, character-infused novel that leaves readers wishing it could have ended another way for the Romanovs. Miller includes many vintage photographs, an epilogue, author's note, glossary, and cast of characters. A finely wrought and complex novel.—Corinne Henning-Sachs, Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook, ME
The fall of the Romanov Dynasty is chronicled through the journals of grand duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia; Miller manages to give each narrator a unique identity. Meticulous research lends convincing detail to the final year of the Imperial family as the novel approaches its grim conclusion. An epilogue, author's note, and--dramatically--photographs of the real people are appended. Reading list, websites. Bib., glos.

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