Saturday, 14 January 2012

Historic Saturday (1): The Lost Crown by Sarah Miller

Some of you may remember Historic Saturday from 2010. I've decided that I'm going to make an effort to read more and therefore, I can post more historical fiction reviews, SO I can bring back Historic Saturday.
Historic Saturday is just a little feature/meme I created that allows me to specifically highlight historical fiction that I've been reading. I LOVE the genre and want other lovers to be able to find them easily. It may not always be strict historical fiction. It may be historical fantasy, a classic, may even fantasy set in a world that resembles historical fiction. But I'm determined to do this at least twice a month. If you want to join, feel free to post your Historic Saturday review in the comments!


The Lost Crown
Sarah Miller
Atheneum
[June 14, 2011]

Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia. Like the fingers on a hand--first headstrong Olga; then Tatiana, the tallest; Maria the most hopeful for a ring; and Anastasia, the smallest. These are the daughters of Tsar Nicholas II, grand duchesses living a life steeped in tradition and privilege. They are each on the brink of starting their own lives, at the mercy of royal matchmakers. The summer of 1914 is that precious last wink of time when they can still be sisters together--sisters that link arms and laugh, sisters that share their dreams and worries, and flirt with the officers of their imperial yacht.


But in a gunshot the future changes for these sisters and for Russia. 

As World War I ignites across Europe, political unrest sweeps Russia. First dissent, then disorder, mutiny, and revolution. For Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, the end of their girlhood together is colliding with the end of more than they ever imagined. 

At the same time hopeful and hopeless, naive and wise, the voices of these sisters become a chorus singing the final song of Imperial Russia. Impeccably researched and utterly fascinating, this novel by acclaimed author Sarah Miller recounts the final days of Imperial Russia with lyricism, criticism and true compassion.

 This was different. Not really what I was expecting.

The story is told in the perspective of all four daughters, which could've been amazing, but the voices of the four sisters weren't really different. By time the book was almost over, I'd caught on to some subtle differences, but otherwise I had to remember the beginning of the chapter or I had to look at how it was written when people were talking to the narrator to figure out who it was. There was a lot of telling how the characters were different and not much showing. If this had been done better, the book could've been incredible.

The story itself was interesting. The events were all true, though the personalities of the characters are created as best as the author could. The story was told over a long period of time, but didn't cover every detail. At times, it could be kind of dull, but for the most part, it was fascinating to read.

I think this was also part of my own expectations. Often in these books, there's some kind of romance thrown in for our interest, even though it's not true to what happened and I'd hoped there'd be some in this book with at least one of the sisters. There was some flirting, but never any real romance.

This is an enjoyable book, but the lack of romance and the same voice for all four perspectives made it not meet my expectations. But I think if you go in expecting it, you'll enjoy it a lot more than I did.

--Julie

3 comments:

  1. I actually recommended this one to my friend, and she had a hard time picking this one up. I also had trouble separating the different narrators from each other but I was able to get used to it after a while. I thought the book was quite good - richly detailed - but for someone who isn't into historical novels, this could get boring pretty quickly.

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  2. This book sounds really interesting. It's sad that it was hard to distinguish between the voices.

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  3. I feel you, I tend to go into books expecting some sort of romance.

    Also, with multiple narrators, I expect differentiation, just to be able to tell them apart.

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