The Last Romanov, Dara Levy Mossanen
originally published: April 2012
finished reading: 11 February 2012
cost: $10 (review copy)
I have a fascination with the Russian royal family. The tragedy surrounding their deaths has always fascinated me and I've read a lot of what's been published, novels as well as histories/biographies. I was excited to see this one - a story I'm familiar with told from a different perspective sucks me in every time. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this book.
The piece Mossanen adds to the story is a woman from the fringe. Her parents were friends of the Romanovs, but of course not of their social standing. When Darya becomes an orphan, she is brought to the palace to look after the Tsarevitch. What follows is a descent into mysticism, as if there wasn't enough of that in the real Romanov palaces.
I didn't buy it. I didn't believe that Darya's powers came from the ambergris. I didn't believe she would stay in the same city where her beloved royal family was murdered. I didn't believe she would pine for her lost love (like some Russian Miss Havisham) for decades.
I can't tell you why I finished it. I think on some level I keep wanting the end of the story to be different. This book was unsatisfying on almost every level for me.