Daughters of a Dead Empire

Carolyn Tara O’Neil

YA Historical Retelling

From debut author Carolyn Tara O’Neil comes a thrilling alternate history set during the Russian Revolution.

Russia, 1918: With the execution of Tsar Nicholas, the empire crumbles and Russia is on the edge of civil war—the poor are devouring the rich. Anna, a bourgeois girl, narrowly escaped the massacre of her entire family in Yekaterinburg. Desperate to get away from the Bolsheviks, she offers a peasant girl a diamond to take her as far south as possible—not realizing that the girl is a communist herself. With her brother in desperate need of a doctor, Evgenia accepts Anna’s offer and suddenly finds herself on the wrong side of the war.

Anna is being hunted by the Bolsheviks, and now—regardless of her loyalties—Evgenia is too.

Daughters of a Dead Empire is a harrowing historical thriller about dangerous ideals, loyalty, and the price we pay for change. An imaginative retelling of the Anastasia story.

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5) I’m a sucker for anything even remotely referring to the Romanov’s. Anna is fleeing the soldiers that killed her entire family. She meets Evgenia on the road and they strike up an agreement for transportation. 

What I liked: The story could be a very plausible one. O’Neil did her research and I loved the possibilities. There is great information in the back talking about the Romanov’s and where she got her information.

What I didn’t like: The girls. Sad, right? I did not like them as characters until the last few chapters. So because of that, I never loved the story.

It definitely brought a new light to what fighting for each side meant and what the Whites believed vs the Reds. I appreciated her showing both sides of the war, as most stories just make one out to be bad and the other good. Both sides had flaws and the smaller details of this were what I really admired.

General content summary: F words: 15, minimal language otherwise, a group threaten a young woman physically and throw her into a fire, a young woman’s family is all killed but she escapes after being placed in a wagon among their corpses, men shoot at two young women, soldiers kick an elderly woman, soldiers shoot a woman in the face, many are shooting at each other, a man is shot (details of blood and death), a family is tied up and beaten and their house burned then the parents are put in a pit and burned, a young woman is taken captive and tortured, a man is stabbed in the eye with a nail, many men are dead from fighting, a young woman is shot, a man is shot (blood details). 

Thank you to Fierce Reads and NetGalley for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.

The book releases February 22, 2022.

**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 


  1. I get so confused reading these kinds of books because I don’t know what is historically accurate or not! Sounds like a good story though

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