Monday, August 22, 2011

Developing a penchant for historical entertainment...Book #57: The Tsarina's Daughter

Historical figures - and perhaps more specifically, women - always intrigue me. Take me to a museum, royal palace or memorial and the facts around certain historical events are certainly interesting, but not quite as interesting as the people behind it all. I'm more interested in Marie Antoinette, than Versailles; Winston Churchill himself rather than his war Cabinet rooms. I'm aware the two go hand in hand, but when I have a choice - I want to find out more about the person!

Which is how I've come to love Carolly Erickson's "historical entertainment" as she calls them. My first introduction to this style of historical fiction/biography was in Erickson's book: The Secret Life of Josephine - Napoleon's wife (well, one of them!).  It was a fascinating insight to the woman behind one of Europe's - and indeed the world's - most interesting historical characters.

So, it wasn't long, before I picked up another of Erickson's books, this one was The Tsarina's Daughter - and it was equally as good. It's the story of the Russian dynasty in pre-revolutionary Russia. Tania - also known as Daria (for reasons that are explained in the book) is the daughter of Tsar Nicholas ll and Tsarina Alexandra. As an individual she is slightly removed from the imperial family for she has a curiosity about life outside of the palace. This curiosity, however, brings with it implications of its own.

It's a fascinating account of the Russian royal family in the early 1900s; the influence of Rasputin on the family, and of course the devastating outcome that ensued. I really enjoyed finding out more about these characters in history, without being bombarded with overwhelming historical information. I'm aware the plot doesn't stick entirely to actual historical events, but it is largely based on them - with that entertainment factor thrown in. As such, it's a great introduction into a part of history that I didn't know much about and has certainly whet the appetite to find out more!


  1. I always thought this book was about Anastasia. Now that I know it isn't I have much more desire to read it. Sounds good.

  2. I'm reading Erickson's The Hidden Diary of Marie Anntoinette right now and it's pretty good. I almost got this book because it was right next to, so I will definitely check this out the next time I go to the library. Great review!

  3. That is such a fascinating period of Russian history. I like how you phrase it 'historical entertainment.'