The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming (2014)

family-romanovA dramatic true story.

Recommended grade level: 7 and up

Pages:   304 (for ISBN 9780375867828)

Genre(s) and keywords: nonfiction, history

Tone/Style: informational

Pace: moderate

Topics: Russia, royalty, wealth, revolution

Themes: family, excess, class struggle, war, leadership

Summary:  Here is the riveting story of the Russian Revolution as it unfolded. When Russia’s last tsar, Nicholas II, inherited the throne in 1894, he was unprepared to do so. With their four daughters (including Anastasia) and only son, a hemophiliac, Nicholas and his reclusive wife, Alexandra, buried their heads in the sand, living a life of opulence as World War I raged outside their door and political unrest grew.

Deftly maneuvering between the lives of the Romanovs and the plight of Russia’s peasants—and their eventual uprising—Fleming offers up a fascinating portrait, complete with inserts featuring period photographs and compelling primary-source material that brings it all to life. History doesn’t get more interesting than the story of the Romanovs. (Source)

Who will like this book?: Excess, war, tragedy…there’s plenty to hold the interest here. A few tantalizing mysteries and bizarre events add a touch of the surreal to this true story. History buffs and narrative nonfiction fans will love it.

Who won’t like this book?: It’s a little dense and has its slow moments. Reluctant readers and those not interested in history would do better elsewhere.

Other comments: none

Sequel(s): n/a

Readalikes: Anastasia and Her Sisters by Carolyn Meyer and Anastasia’s Secret by Susanne Emily Dunlap are both fictional accounts of Grand Duchess Anastasia. Angel on the Square by Gloria Whelan and The Wolf Rider by Katherine Rundell are also historical fiction titles involving the Russian Revolution, though they read younger than The Family Romanov. Narrative nonfiction fans who like this book may also like Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson, The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi by Neal Bascomb, and Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea by Sungju Lee.

-Kylie Peters

Image: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18691014-the-family-romanov

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