The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra, by Helen Rappaport
As the last autocratic ruler and czar of Russia, Nicholas II's reign and legacy have been written about repeatedly since his overthrow and murder in the Russian Revolution. The first of these staff picks, The Romanov Sisters, is, however, concerned with his four daughters: Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia. Using diaries and memoirs of family members and other eyewitness accounts to their lives, newspaper articles written about them during their lives and other historical sources, Helen Rappaport has created a richly textured group biography of the gloriously regal lives these four grand duchesses led. Immensely readable, this book shows their world of growing up and living in a world with great wealth, prestige and position. They all come across as having charm and grace during their short lives. Educated by tutors in magnificent palaces, the sisters were sheltered by Nicholas and Alexandra as they were raised to be the royal daughters of the czar of Russia. Their family unit was complicated by the birth of their hemophiliac son Alexis. His health was precarious at times due to his disease and thus cast a dark shadow over the future of the Romanov family reign in Russia. A lovingly close family, these girls faced growing discontent in Russia with the czar's reign as World War I broke out. Yet, they served as nurses and treated injured Russian soldiers with love and dedication during the war. As they emerged into adolescence, they each developed romantic crushes on soldiers who were part of the regiments assigned to protect them. Historical events trapped them in the Russian Revolution and eventual exile in small towns as the revolution swirled around them. They were doomed to be murdered along with their mother, father, brother and several family servants in a dark basement in Ekaterinburg in 1918. The Romanov Sisters is a finely written and engrossing story of four young women who, by birth, were caught in one of the Twentieth Century's most dramatic events.
Diary of Olga Romanov: Royal Witness to the Russian Revolution, by Olʹga Nikolaevna
As a follow up to the above book, The Diary of Olga Romanov, is the perfect source to get an ever fuller picture of the oldest daughter of Nicholas and Alexandra. In her own words, the reader can follow Olga's daily life and her observations of major events, such as the outbreak of war with Germany and Austria. Her feelings about Rasputin are clearly described as she records her reaction to his murder. Interspersed within the diary, the editor Helen Azar has included diary entries of Nicholas, some of her tutors and other family members, which enhances the reading experience This is a wonderful bok for those who want to know more about this charming young woman and her observations of the momentous events in Russia in the years around the Russian Revolution.