Born into the House of Romanov to the all-powerful Peter the Great and his wife, Catherine, a former serf, beautiful Tsarevna Elizabeth is the envy of the Russian empire. She is insulated by luxury and spoiled by her father, who dreams for her to marry King Louis XV of France and rule in Versailles. But when a woodland creature gives her a Delphic prophecy, her life is turned upside down. Her volatile father suddenly dies, her only brother has been executed and her mother takes the throne of Russia.
As friends turn to foes in the dangerous atmosphere of the Court, the princess must fear for her freedom and her life. Fate deals her blow after blow, and even loving her becomes a crime that warrants cruel torture and capital punishment: Elizabeth matures from suffering victim to strong and savvy survivor. But only her true love and their burning passion finally help her become who she is. When the Imperial Crown is left to an infant Tsarevich, Elizabeth finds herself in mortal danger and must confront a terrible dilemma–seize the reins of power and harm an innocent child, or find herself following in the footsteps of her murdered brother.
Hidden behind a gorgeous, wildly decadent façade, the Russian Imperial Court is a viper’s den of intrigue and ambition. Only a woman possessed of boundless courage and cunning can prove herself worthy to sit on the throne of Peter the Great.
Ellen Alpsten’s stunning new novel, The Tsarina’s Daughter, is the dramatic story of Elizabeth, daughter of Catherine I and Peter the Great, who ruled Russia during an extraordinary life marked by love, danger, passion and scandal.
-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.
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(4 / 5) Ah, I love all things Romanov. This book is technically a continuation of the book Tsarina by the same author, but can definitely be read alone. As a preface, Tsarina was about Catherine rising from a serf (horrendous stories) to marrying Peter the Great and becoming Tsarina, Russia’s first female ruler. Elizabeth is their daughter.
I loved reading the intricacies of their royal lives. Especially breaking boundaries into the first Tsarina rule and what that entailed. Elizabeth’s life had multiple ups and downs as many people ruled after her parents. To me, Elizabeth was the obvious next ruler but politics, bloodlines, self-interest and influential people deemed the next ruler more often than not.
“In the past five years the Russian throne had been vacated three times.”
Growing up, I’ve always heard of the Romanov curse. I now feel as if I understand this more! There were many deaths and tragedies along the way. Some were astonishing and happened so quickly, on very influential days. Being able to check the facts and google while reading just solidified the story for me.
As I said in my previous review of Tsarina, “I feel I know her Russia. I feel I know her as a person.” Alpsten’s ability to surround you in the intricacies of the time period are astounding. Her ability to wrap you in her every day struggles and give you the most realistic feeling of royal life are some of my favorite aspects of her writing. Another favorite I have is the research. She takes the information she is able to find and has to fill in the blanks, but it is very detailed and true to the time period.
“You are Russia. Your father was the Tsar anointed by Heaven, your mother the Tsarina, a daughter of the Russian soil. Legend and lore, law and logic, are combined in you. The Russian people worship you. For any soldier you are the Tsar’s daughter. But more so, you are the Tsarina’s daughter! Your mother has reigned. Why shouldn’t you?”
The expanse of the book entails the highs and lows and self examination as Elizabeth readies herself to take the throne. I do wish it hadn’t ended so abruptly. I wanted more information about her takeover for the throne, her reign, her refusal to kill anyone, her heir but also her nephew and his life. I have many questions! I still need to do more research but Google just doesn’t fulfill my questions like Alpsten does! Hopefully more will be in an upcoming book. I also wanted more information about their ages. I had a hard time picturing a few scenes due to this. I know this was a problem I had in Tsarina also, but I’m very picture-oriented when I read and placing their age is a big part of that.
All in all, a very impressive read. I will continue to read Alpsten’s books and anxiously await the next one!
General content summary: minimal language, stillborn children, alcoholism, a father kills his son accused of high treason, scars on wrists (attempted suicide?), a woman “had been strung upside down in the stable until the blood flow made her brain burst,” people hanged and the bodies left out to rot, sexual assault, kissing and very sensual moments, death and grief, dying from illnesses, spousal physical abuse, detailed open door scenes, small pox and death, physical child abuse, torture (whipped, broken bones, details of a tongue being taken out as punishment), euthanasia, heart attack, f/f relationship, hundreds killed for an impersonation.
Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for one of my most anticipated reads of the year!
The book releases March 15, 2022.
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