The Romanov Empress
The Romanov Empress
The Romanov Empress is the first novel I’ve read by author C.W. Gortner. It took a month for me to finish it wasn’t because I thought it was boring, there were days I felt so bored I didn’t feel like reading much of anything. I finally finished reading it today. I was looking through lists of books on pinterest, and I stumbled across The Romanov Empress and then I looked at the book description on Amazon. It was a book about Marie Romanov who was the mother of Czar Nicholas III and Anastasia’s grandmother.
What hooked me into wanting to read this is because I love historical fiction and I’ve been a Romanov nut since I was a kid, when my grandparents told me Anastasia and her family were real people and not fictional cartoon characters. This was the first book I’ve ever seen that was about Tsar Nicholas’s mother. Most of the books historical fiction, or biography that I’ve read about the Romanov’s was either about Anastasia and her sisters, or her parents or even Catherine the Great, but never have I read one book about her grandmother who was an interesting person in her own right.
There are lots of things to talk about. I enjoyed learning more about Marie. We see her life as a Danish princess when she was called Minnie or Dagmar before she married Alexander. There were a lot of things I learned about her that I didn’t know before. Minnie wasn’t an out of touch royal despite living a life of luxury that almost seemed fairytale-esque. Minnie was involved with the Red Cross and wanted to help the peasant class and disagreed with her husband trying to force the Jewish people to convert to the Russian Orthodox faith or be exiled. I also liked how the book talked about how Minnie and Alexandra, Nicholas’s wife didn’t get along. Although Minnie had her own flaws especially judging Alexandra harshly and having her prejudices against Germans, Alexandra was not entirely blameless either. Alexandra didn’t take her priorities as Tsarina seriously enough and didn’t make an effort to be liked and for anyone who’s a Romanov nut, we all know the disaster with Rasputin. Not to mention Minnie and Alexandra’s personalities clashed. Minnie was fun loving and loved having balls, whereas Alexandra just wanted to be left alone with her family and wanted to do what she liked. Toward the end Minnie said that although she blamed Alexandra for their ruin, she knew her son wasn’t entirely blameless either.
I know some complained that it wasn’t 100% accurate and there were even little details I noticed that weren’t entirely true at the same time it’s hard to know a person’s inner thoughts and why they did things the way they did so an author can only speculate and fill in the banks as long as they weren’t totally rewriting history. I also wish we would have seen more interactions with her and her grandchildren, and maybe a little bit of what life was like in her later years after the revolution but then again there is so much you can fit into one book.
Overall I enjoyed the book a lot. I apologize for not blogging in a while. There were days I was so bored that I didn’t feel like reading, despite my love of reading. I can’t wait to read more by C.W. Gortner and hope more authors write about this amazing woman. Minnie suffered a lot throughout life but despite that she was determined to live especially because her family needed her. In the author’s note, it’s sad knowing that she definitely suffered the most later in life, her son, his wife and her granddaughters and grandson were murdered, though despite the evidence to the contrary she still kept hope that they could have survived. It makes you wonder, what kind of Russia would we have today if Nicholas listened to his mother more and became an effective ruler rather than a weak one?