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The Romanov Brides by Clare McHugh : a review

I’m delighted to be sharing Laura’s guest review about The Romanov Brides : A Novel of the Last Tsarina and Her Sisters by Clare McHugh.

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Book cover for The Romanov Brides by Clare McHugh.  Partial view of two women from the back with a Russian building in the background

The Romanov Brides by Clare McHugh

  • Category : Historical Fiction
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ William Morrow Paperbacks (28 Mar. 2024)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 384 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0063250934
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0063250932
  • Amazon | Waterstones | Goodreads

The Romanov Brides Summary

From the author of A Most English Princess comes a rich novel about young Princess Alix of Hesse—the future Alexandra, last Empress of Imperial Russia—and her sister, Princess Ella. Their decision to marry into the Romanov royal family changed history.

They were granddaughters of Queen Victoria and two of the most beautiful princesses in Europe. Princesses Alix and Ella were destined to wed well and wisely. But while their grandmother wants to join them to the English and German royal families, the sisters fall in love with Russia—and the Romanovs.

Defying the Queen’s dire warnings, Ella weds the tsar’s brother, Grand Duke Serge. Cultivated, aloof, and proud, Serge places his young wife on a pedestal for all to admire. Behind palace gates, Ella struggles to secure private happiness.

Alix, whisked away to Russia for Ella’s wedding, meets and captivates Nicky—heir apparent to the Russian throne. While loving him deeply, Alix hears a call of conscience, urging her to walk away.

Their fateful decisions to marry will lead to tragic consequences for not only themselves and their families, but for millions in Russia and around the globe.

The Romanov Brides is a moving and fascinating portrait of two bold and spirited royal sisters, and brings to vivid life imperial Russia—a dazzling, decadent world on the brink of disappearing forever. 

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The Romanov Brides Review

I found this to be a captivating historical novel principally about two of Queen Victoria’s granddaughters Ella and Alix. Without their grandmother’s permission or acceptance they both married into the Romanov royal family.

I enjoyed how the author captured the personalities of Alix and Ella throughout this book. A wonderful story with well written characters. Tragically, their childhood was mixed with sadness due to the loss of their mother and siblings.

 I used the family trees regularly whilst reading this book to keep up with who was who, especially for the sake or similar names.

As I knew the outcome and tragedy of Alix, Nicky and her family I felt great sympathy reading her story. Their love was plain to see and her family understood the danger she led herself into when she married Nicky. I also felt great sorrow for Ella and the marriage she found herself in. After reading this book I am intrigued to read more about the real characters in this book, especially Ella.

I loved reading The Romanov Brides and found it kept me engrossed throughout.

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About the Author

Before turning to fiction, Clare McHugh worked as a journalist, magazine editor, and history teacher. She chose as the subject of her first novel the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria—known to her family as Vicky. To tell the dramatic and tragic story of this precocious princess, who later become the mother of Kaiser Wilhelm and the Empress of Germany, the author dove into the archives and studied the letters exchanged by Vicky and Queen Victoria. When not in the library, McHugh enjoys cooking, travel and reviewing books. Born in London, she grew up in the US and graduated from Harvard with a degree in European history. The mother of two grown children she lives in Washington DC and Amagansett NY with her husband, a fellow writer and editor. @claremch

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