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A compelling alternate history of the Romanov family in which a secret fifth daughter—smuggled out of Russia before the revolution—continues the royal lineage to dramatic consequences In her riveting debut novel, The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, Jennifer Laam seamlessly braids together the stories of three women: Veronica, Lena, and Charlotte. Veronica is an aspiring histor A compelling alternate history of the Romanov family in which a secret fifth daughter—smuggled out of Russia before the revolution—continues the royal lineage to dramatic consequences In her riveting debut novel, The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, Jennifer Laam seamlessly braids together the stories of three women: Veronica, Lena, and Charlotte. Veronica is an aspiring historian living in present-day Los Angeles when she meets a mysterious man who may be heir to the Russian throne. As she sets about investigating the legitimacy of his claim through a winding path of romance and deception, the ghosts of her own past begin to haunt her. Lena, a servant in the imperial Russian court of 1902, is approached by the desperate Empress Alexandra. After conceiving four daughters, the Empress is determined to sire a son and believes Lena can help her. Once elevated to the Romanov's treacherous inner circle, Lena finds herself under the watchful eye of the meddling Dowager Empress Marie. Charlotte, a former ballerina living in World War II occupied Paris, receives a surprise visit from a German officer. Determined to protect her son from the Nazis, Charlotte escapes the city, but not before learning that the officer's interest in her stems from his longstanding obsession with the fate of the Russian monarchy. Then as Veronica's passion intensifies, and her search for the true heir to the throne takes a dangerous turn, the reader learns just how these three vastly different women are connected. The Secret Daughter of the Tsar is thrilling from its first intense moments until its final, unexpected conclusion.


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A compelling alternate history of the Romanov family in which a secret fifth daughter—smuggled out of Russia before the revolution—continues the royal lineage to dramatic consequences In her riveting debut novel, The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, Jennifer Laam seamlessly braids together the stories of three women: Veronica, Lena, and Charlotte. Veronica is an aspiring histor A compelling alternate history of the Romanov family in which a secret fifth daughter—smuggled out of Russia before the revolution—continues the royal lineage to dramatic consequences In her riveting debut novel, The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, Jennifer Laam seamlessly braids together the stories of three women: Veronica, Lena, and Charlotte. Veronica is an aspiring historian living in present-day Los Angeles when she meets a mysterious man who may be heir to the Russian throne. As she sets about investigating the legitimacy of his claim through a winding path of romance and deception, the ghosts of her own past begin to haunt her. Lena, a servant in the imperial Russian court of 1902, is approached by the desperate Empress Alexandra. After conceiving four daughters, the Empress is determined to sire a son and believes Lena can help her. Once elevated to the Romanov's treacherous inner circle, Lena finds herself under the watchful eye of the meddling Dowager Empress Marie. Charlotte, a former ballerina living in World War II occupied Paris, receives a surprise visit from a German officer. Determined to protect her son from the Nazis, Charlotte escapes the city, but not before learning that the officer's interest in her stems from his longstanding obsession with the fate of the Russian monarchy. Then as Veronica's passion intensifies, and her search for the true heir to the throne takes a dangerous turn, the reader learns just how these three vastly different women are connected. The Secret Daughter of the Tsar is thrilling from its first intense moments until its final, unexpected conclusion.

30 review for Secret Daughter of the Tsar

  1. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    today marks the 100th anniversary of the death of the grand duchess anastasia nikolaevna and the immediate romanov family. to show my respect, i watched the film ‘anastasia’ and read this book. both of which are works of fiction (not to mention historically inaccurate), but oh, how i wish they were true! and before any enthused historians come at me, im rating this based on my enjoyment and not its factual basis. because i did enjoy this. there is a sort of romantic notion involved when thinking today marks the 100th anniversary of the death of the grand duchess anastasia nikolaevna and the immediate romanov family. to show my respect, i watched the film ‘anastasia’ and read this book. both of which are works of fiction (not to mention historically inaccurate), but oh, how i wish they were true! and before any enthused historians come at me, im rating this based on my enjoyment and not its factual basis. because i did enjoy this. there is a sort of romantic notion involved when thinking about a missing princess and long lost heir that i really loved with this story. there have been many conspiracy theories over the years when it comes to the romanov family, but i thought this particular tale was quite unique and mysterious. i loved the way the book was set up with three separate stories about three different characters across three crucial points in history. each story was wonderful in their own way, but i loved how it all came together at the end. i definitely recommend picking this up if you have any interest in the romanov family and are looking for a fun adventure, but dont mind if its not based on solid fact! ↠ 3.5 stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lyd's Archive (7/'15 to 6/'18)

    "What I really want is that my country come out of this historical period and stop dwelling on it... but... we are living in a new Russia. We have colossal problems to face. let's forget about the political aspects of the past. Let's leave that to the historians." - Prince Nicholas Romanov, as quoted in The Romanovs: The Final Chapter I have a lot to say about this book, so bear with me. To answer your initial questions, history buffs, the secret-daughter thing is actually done well, but I had ot "What I really want is that my country come out of this historical period and stop dwelling on it... but... we are living in a new Russia. We have colossal problems to face. let's forget about the political aspects of the past. Let's leave that to the historians." - Prince Nicholas Romanov, as quoted in The Romanovs: The Final Chapter I have a lot to say about this book, so bear with me. To answer your initial questions, history buffs, the secret-daughter thing is actually done well, but I had other problems. I am in the minority over this one, so I wrote a lot to explain myself. I had several reasons to read this book: It was one of several books on the last Russian imperial family in my library system that I haven't read. Leigh planned to read it soon and, when I found the book on my local library shelf, I thought "why wait" and planned to read it with her. She finished some time before I did. The only friend of mine who reviewed it gave it one star, but said nothing about accuracy, so I figured it wouldn't be so bad. And when she and Leigh began writing their complaints, I was almost determined to disagree with them, yet I did not. If you liked this book, we can agree to disagree. For the most part, this book is a matter of taste. The research is fairly good, but she did use biased sources and as a result, has some bias I will explain later in further detail. I didn't like it much, but just a little tweaking and it could have been a three-star book for me I admit, it was for certain not one-star or one-and-a-half-star-worthy terrible, but I did not in my gut like it whatsoever. (view spoiler)[As far as I can tell, it's a Disney movie with subplots and sex. Why did Veronica have to be an illegitimate child and an orphan? (hide spoiler)] Like Leigh, the Veronica scenes, set in the present, were my least favorite part of the book. Veronica herself was okay, but her universe was not. Jess was the typical shallow BFF type who made the first chapter seem like the 20th anniversary reunion for the cast of Dreaming Anastasia and Michael seemed like another stalker hot guy from some YA paranormal, albeit twenty years older. Whenever she was around him, she became a sick puppy. The first chapter, to me, seemed like a waste of trees. (view spoiler)[ Another part of the Veronica story line that bugged me was the whole Alexei Romanov thing. He was like a stereotypical evil Russian, and you could tell from miles away. Though somewhat based off real-life Romanov pretenders, he does not resemble any of them in character and my be potentially offensive. He even worked with a more stereotyped character, Grigori the drug dealer, to get what he wanted and he seemed so one-sided and flat I could knock him over. Why waste your time and rescources, I wondered, on a throne that does not and should not exist? (hide spoiler)] The Protagonists Veronica: 2 stars. She was okay at first but awfully bland. And then with Michael she turns into a sick puppy with a major case of instalove. In short: Lena: 2.5 stars. I liked her more than Veronica but she came across as dumb and bland, especially when she asked something along the lines of "Did she think I didn't know what happened to people because they were different?" I get what she was trying to say, but it sounded so cheesy. I also didn't like how in her sections seemed to villify Marie Feodorovna until the end, where she had some kind of turnaround. Charlotte: 3 stars. Still bland but the best by far. She actually has sense. Portrayal of Imperial Russia The fault, dear book, is not in your research, but in yourself. Jennifer Laam definitely did research this places other than the internet and did a fairly good job, However, some of her sources are biased:Alexandra: The Last Tsarina, I'm told, used fictionalized memoirs to make Alexandra seem more sympathetic (see A King's review ). It's not that I think Alexandra deserved what she got, but I think she simply was not a good empress. Anastasia: The Lost Princess, of course, is biased toward Anna Anderson, but that was not an issue. However, I do see major bias in this book in favor of Imperial Russian society. "Such a tragedy," remarks Alexei Romanov (not the tsarevich of course). "Restoration is the least we can do for them." (I face plant). I get that the Romanovs should not have been killed in the manner they did, but life in their Russia was pretty bad for the average citizen, a fact Laam does not seem to grasp. In the end, she relents from the idea of Romanov restoration, but the mere idea that she puts in its possibility gives it a free ride to my giant-cat-realism shelf. "A life in Russia is worth five thousand dollars; that is what it costs to arrange an assassination. Talk about royal families and thrones is ridiculous," says Pavel Ivanov, a DNA expert who helped identify the Romanov bones (quoted in The Romanovs: The Final Chapter). There was another part of Laam's Imperial Russia portrayal that set me off. "The music made Veronica think of Havana in the fifties, before Fidel Castro. Men in Panama hats and women in slinky dresses enjoying decadent lives before Communism's proverbial hammer swung down. Just like [Imperial] Russia. For a moment, Veronica was back in the Russian dream world of ornate palaces and complicated love affairs." Pretty writing, but my question is Who pays the price for the rich in their ornate palaces? I'm not a Communist or Socialist or anything, and it's not like that's a bad quote, but it just seems so romanticized. Not to mention that portraying imperial Russia like that is not a one-time thing in this book. As a matter of fact, it was this and not the (view spoiler)[sex scene (hide spoiler)] that really pissed me off, along with the whole Grigori thing. The Plot and Pacing I don't know what exactly would be done to change it, but I thought the way the plot was done wasn't ideal. (view spoiler)[Picture this:There's a Nazi with a gun pointed at Charlotte's husband's head. The chapter ends and then.... Veronica and Michael just had sex. Great. I also wondered why it was Veronica and not Charlotte, the titular secret daughter, who got whole chapters to herself. (hide spoiler)] Overall, I would advise against reading this book unless you like instalove and consider historical inaccuracy the consequence of reading fiction. As this book reminded me of it, I would recommend this book to some fans of The Wrath and the Dawn if they liked the romance, read adult fiction, and loved it for other reasons besides its writing, as the writing in this book is not as atmospheric.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    What fun I had reading this book. The tragic story of the Tsarist Romanov family of Russia is one that fascinates me. Jennifer Laam has taken that historical background and made the Romanov's alive and vibrant through their fictitious servants and supposed heirs. I was completely taken in by the novel from the Prologue onward. This work of historical fiction is such a good read! The story line is fluent and gripping. I couldn't stand to be torn away and was really aggravated when anything or any What fun I had reading this book. The tragic story of the Tsarist Romanov family of Russia is one that fascinates me. Jennifer Laam has taken that historical background and made the Romanov's alive and vibrant through their fictitious servants and supposed heirs. I was completely taken in by the novel from the Prologue onward. This work of historical fiction is such a good read! The story line is fluent and gripping. I couldn't stand to be torn away and was really aggravated when anything or anyone interrupted my reading time. Skipping through time and through the viewpoints of different women, it held my interest completely. I had no trouble following the action and found my heart racing at some of the intimate and dangerous moments involved in the story. Hard to say which was my favorite character in this one because there were several and so many out- standing moments in the book. I think I was most captivated by the Charlotte of the Paris/Nazi era. She was vulnerable in a beautiful way. While finding herself in dangerous situations, open to violence from several aspects, she maintained her courage and a sense of herself. She was a regal woman despite the facts surrounding her...decisive and intuitive. I liked her gentle heart. The suspense and mystery of this historical fiction was unexpected. It carried me swiftly through the book as I couldn't predict the conclusion until the very end. It's a very clever "mouse trap" of a novel! Made me wish there were a secret daughter of the tsar....or is there? I highly recommend this one. Beautifully researched. Fun to read. A great suspense/thriller/mystery that is compelling and insightful. Likable characters in realistic situations. I loved it! 5 stars Deborah/TheBookishDame

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Q

    3.5 Stars. I was really drawn to the premise of this novel and the idea that a Romanov heir exists that is neither Anastasia or Alexei. The story begins with Veronica, a struggling professor attempting to write a biography of Empress Alexandra, who becomes involved with a man whose interest in the Romanovs matches her own. Orphaned as a young girl and raised by her grandmother, Veronica has always felt like an outsider within her large family, and later in her academic career. When she learns of 3.5 Stars. I was really drawn to the premise of this novel and the idea that a Romanov heir exists that is neither Anastasia or Alexei. The story begins with Veronica, a struggling professor attempting to write a biography of Empress Alexandra, who becomes involved with a man whose interest in the Romanovs matches her own. Orphaned as a young girl and raised by her grandmother, Veronica has always felt like an outsider within her large family, and later in her academic career. When she learns of the notion of a mysterious lost Romanov heir and a shadowy society devoted to restoring the heir to the throne, Veronica seizes the chance to take her book to the next level, and to learn more about Michael Karstadt, who may have ulterior motives in pursuing a romance with her. Entwined with Veronica's story are those of Lena and Charlotte, two women from different times who also play their parts in the mystery. Lena, a trusted servant of Alexandra, gives us a glimpse into life behind closed doors in the imperial Russian court in 1902, where all was not sunshine and roses for the empress, who was desperate to provide her husband and his country with a male heir after the birth of four daughters. As the tsar's mother and brother and other disgruntled nobles circle around the empress, searching for weaknesses they can exploit, Lena rises to the defense of her beloved mistress. Forty years later, Charlotte, an aging dancer trapped in Nazi-occupied Paris, finds herself hunted by a high-ranking Nazi official for reasons she can't comprehend, and ends up on the run with her small son and estranged husband in a desperate attempt to reach sanctuary in Spain. I loved the historical threads in Russia and France and the connection that was eventually revealed between the three women. Their stories all came together rather seamlessly and satisfyingly in the end, even if it was fairly easy to predict the outcome. Unfortunately, the present-day thread didn't work as well for me. I found the idea of restoring the Romanovs to the throne in the twenty-first century, in a Russia under Vladimir Putin's leadership, rather implausible, and much of the present-day story hinges on that. But I was able to suspend disbelief enough to enjoy the story and the intense climactic moments. While I enjoyed the story and the characters, the writing style was a bit disappointing. It lacks the elegance and resonance I associate with historical fiction. I also like a more subtle style of writing; I like to be able to read between the lines, to figure things out for myself--I don't like to have things spelled out for me and clues made obvious. But the book does get a big thumbs up for taking on the idea of a Romanov heir with a new twist and for flawlessly braiding together three separate stories in different time periods. The Secret Daughter of the Tsar doesn't quite live up to the standards of my favorite past/present novels from authors like Susanna Kearsley, but it is something different and ambitious in historical fiction, and I liked it enough to pick up the sequel when it comes out.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    This story seamlessly winds together the lives of three women from different times and places. The first half builds the mystery about the Russian Romanov family and the three main characters, and the second half is where the action and the tension really begin. My Kindle jumped from 50% to 90% completed and I hardly noticed! I loved how the book came together in the end, blending the mysteries from Russia in the early 1900s, to Paris in 1941, to present-day NYC; I honestly didn't see it coming. This story seamlessly winds together the lives of three women from different times and places. The first half builds the mystery about the Russian Romanov family and the three main characters, and the second half is where the action and the tension really begin. My Kindle jumped from 50% to 90% completed and I hardly noticed! I loved how the book came together in the end, blending the mysteries from Russia in the early 1900s, to Paris in 1941, to present-day NYC; I honestly didn't see it coming. At first the women are timid, and I rooted for them to grow stronger. I switched between whose story I enjoyed the most, but I think it was Lena, the servant to the Russian empress. I enjoyed her romance the best, and I would've loved to read more about it. She seemed to be the youngest and least jaded by life. The other women endured struggles in the past, not uncommon to many women today, which will probably make their stories more poignant for many readers. Each of them eventually finds strength in themselves. You can feel the author's love for history and this particular time in history specifically. This book won me over!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Um....I had such high hopes for this book. The story line was so interesting. But!....The writing was horrible. It's like the author had random information she really wanted to throw in the book. The story would be going a long and then all of a sudden some useless information would come up making me confused. From the very start I knew how the book would end. No surprises, just a long drawn out story. When I was done reading the book I sat there trying to figure out how this book could have bee Um....I had such high hopes for this book. The story line was so interesting. But!....The writing was horrible. It's like the author had random information she really wanted to throw in the book. The story would be going a long and then all of a sudden some useless information would come up making me confused. From the very start I knew how the book would end. No surprises, just a long drawn out story. When I was done reading the book I sat there trying to figure out how this book could have been improved. I think that if the author didn't have the story line of the present day and just the other two stories it would have been much better. The author could have had the present day narrating it then in the end reveal how it pertains to her.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    I love the premise of this book so I really wanted to love this book. I enjoyed Lena's character but found some of the other characters lacking depth. I didn't particularly care for the Michael-Veronica relationship, felt it wasn't developed well. It was very obvious what the twist was going to be early on in the book. This book had great potential, but overall it was ok.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Leigh

    My opinion of this book bounced around like a pinball. I would find myself rolling my eyes and skimming Veronica chapters and vowing no more than two stars then change to Lena and Charlotte chapters and go up to four stars. This book is not a five star book and Veronica is the reason. The story has a good premise that a fifth daughter was born to Nicholas and Alexandra in 1902 and smuggled out for political reasons. To me this story is more plausible than one child survived the massacre. I know My opinion of this book bounced around like a pinball. I would find myself rolling my eyes and skimming Veronica chapters and vowing no more than two stars then change to Lena and Charlotte chapters and go up to four stars. This book is not a five star book and Veronica is the reason. The story has a good premise that a fifth daughter was born to Nicholas and Alexandra in 1902 and smuggled out for political reasons. To me this story is more plausible than one child survived the massacre. I know people who lived in the USSR in the 20's and 30's and there was no way anyone got out of that house alive. Our main character for some reason is Veronica. She is a professor and writing a biography of Empress Alexandra. She is also on the brink of being fired and desperate for a boyfriend despite having a recent relationship end badly. At least that's the impression when her cousin introduces her to Michael and she falls for his love of Russian history, music well everything. They fall into a heavy romance which made those chapters hard to stomach. Flashback to 1901 shortly after Grand Duchess Anastasia is born and we meet Lena. Lena works for the Empress Alexandra and is her current favourite. She longs to have a son to ensure the dynasty continues and Lena whose mother was a midwife has advice to offer her. In Paris 1942 we meet Charlotte a former ballerina and her son Laurent. They are desperate to flee occupied France and make it to the safety of her parents' house. Especially when a Nazi soldier shows up at her door saying mysterious things about her family. As I said before I liked the concept and really enjoyed the historical parts. Charlotte and Lena had enjoyable stories and I wanted them to get their own chapters. Their romances or lack there of were told well and weren't rammed down your throat like Veronica's was. If the story was their's alone it would've gotten four to five stars. Which brings me to Veronica. Sigh. Where do I begin? A young career woman who seems more worried about what others think. Feeling shame for being called the smart weird cousin. I hold that title in my own family and do so with pride! She allows herself to enter into a deep romance with someone she barely knows, finds out he used her and then because her grandmother and cousin say he's and good guy takes him back. Why did you have to ruin an otherwise good story? Veronica is not likeable for me I like to see strong independent female characters and she always waited for Michael or someone else to save her. Without her it could've been a better story. The ending I think is wishful thinking. I doubt the monarchy will be restored now or ever and most likely not to an American given the current climate between the two countries. But I gave it a neutral three stars, neither loved nor hated it. I disliked a couple characters but other than that not too bad of a read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Meg - A Bookish Affair

    "The Secret Daughter of the Tsar" is an alternate history of the Romanov family, Russia's last royal rulers. I was excited about this book because I am absolutely fascinated with Russia and its history, especially during the 20th century to present day. I'm always excited when I can find a historical fiction that takes on Russia (there aren't that many out there!!! why???). Alternate histories are a little bit more dicey for me usually. It's sometimes hard for me to get into the mindset of suspe "The Secret Daughter of the Tsar" is an alternate history of the Romanov family, Russia's last royal rulers. I was excited about this book because I am absolutely fascinated with Russia and its history, especially during the 20th century to present day. I'm always excited when I can find a historical fiction that takes on Russia (there aren't that many out there!!! why???). Alternate histories are a little bit more dicey for me usually. It's sometimes hard for me to get into the mindset of suspending my disbelief about histories that I know fairly well. In the case of this book, I totally ate this book up! The narrative is split between three main characters. There is Lena, servant to the Romanov family, who becomes a close confidante of the last Tsarina, Alexandra. There is Charlotte, a young woman in 1940s, who is being followed by a Nazi officer who seems to be convinced that she is someone who she's sure she isn't. Then there is Veronica, a Russian history professor at a small college, who meets a mysterious man who may be hiding a huge family secret. All three of these women come from very different walks of life and they are all really fascinating. There were a lot of really fantastic twists and turns surrounding these characters and I loved following them and putting the pieces together. The story of this book was fascinating. Yes, it's an alternate history but Lamm does a great job at making the story feel like it could be plausible. Many of us history lovers have heard about the various pretenders who claimed to be one of the Tsar's daughters (mostly Anastasia) but this book has a slightly different take, which makes it even more fascinating. Overall, this book has a great storyline and a really interesting take on an infamous family!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mary Pessaran

    I love this story—all three of them actually. Jennifer Laam uniquely captures the conflicts of three different time-periods. The luxuries and expectations of Imperialist Russia, the constant fears and stark conditions of the German occupation of Paris, and the pressures of modern day. Laam uses subtle details to allow us to visualize the settings and characters without overpowering the scenes. The book demonstrates the author’s love of history, as well as a desire to alter the outcome of the sen I love this story—all three of them actually. Jennifer Laam uniquely captures the conflicts of three different time-periods. The luxuries and expectations of Imperialist Russia, the constant fears and stark conditions of the German occupation of Paris, and the pressures of modern day. Laam uses subtle details to allow us to visualize the settings and characters without overpowering the scenes. The book demonstrates the author’s love of history, as well as a desire to alter the outcome of the senseless murder of a lineage. The dangers experienced by the three women reflect their specific moments in history, and each has a distinct love story. In suspense novels, I am always tempted to turn that page for the immediate gratification of knowing what happens next. Because the stories are interwoven, alternating between time and place, suspense is heightened. We have to leave the characters where they are, sometimes at risk, as we travel to the next story line, making it back a chapter or two later. This is story of three women, and one more. Empress Alexandra. She lived in a time when producing a male heir was essential and the responsibility fell solely on her. All four women take on the challenges presented, putting their lives at risk, enlisting the support of the men in their lives when possible, but ultimately making hard decisions and taking action. The Secret Daughter of the Tsar is a rare find. Enjoy.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lou Ann

    The Secret Daughter of the Tsar is a beautifully written historical fiction novel by debut writer, Jennifer Laam. This author clearly knows her Russian history, with vivid details about food, language, dress and customs of the early 1900s Russia. This novel follows three different times; the elegance of the court of Empress Alexandra, the horror of Nazi Germany and present day academia (also horrific). Jennifer expertly weaves the lives of three women, blending their despair, romance and hope as The Secret Daughter of the Tsar is a beautifully written historical fiction novel by debut writer, Jennifer Laam. This author clearly knows her Russian history, with vivid details about food, language, dress and customs of the early 1900s Russia. This novel follows three different times; the elegance of the court of Empress Alexandra, the horror of Nazi Germany and present day academia (also horrific). Jennifer expertly weaves the lives of three women, blending their despair, romance and hope as felt across three different generations, bound by their links to the Romanov family. I enjoyed experiencing the women with their similar struggles, their ability to rise above the barriers placed before them...putting their integrity above their own happiness with the equally tantalizing men in their lives. A wide cast of characters, rich sensory detail and fast pacing adds to the color of this fun and lively novel of history, intrigue and romance. Loved it!!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Saturday's Child

    When I saw this novel on Goodreads I wanted to find a copy to read as I am interested in the Romanov Family and fact or fiction I enjoy reading about them. When the library that I borrow from got a copy I could not wait to read it. I wanted to enjoy this novel but I just didn't. The three periods of time in the plot were easy enough to follow but there was just too much going on description wise and I found it to be a distraction for me. From the beginning I did not like the character Veronica a When I saw this novel on Goodreads I wanted to find a copy to read as I am interested in the Romanov Family and fact or fiction I enjoy reading about them. When the library that I borrow from got a copy I could not wait to read it. I wanted to enjoy this novel but I just didn't. The three periods of time in the plot were easy enough to follow but there was just too much going on description wise and I found it to be a distraction for me. From the beginning I did not like the character Veronica and was planning to give my rating as 2 stars until I got to the end of the story.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany Sims

    I really wanted to love this book when I realized the connection with the Romanov family, but did not find the characters believable. Seemed to lack development & consistency with main characters Veronica & Michael. Loved the conspiracy idea behind the Romanov family, could have been better executed. I really wanted to love this book when I realized the connection with the Romanov family, but did not find the characters believable. Seemed to lack development & consistency with main characters Veronica & Michael. Loved the conspiracy idea behind the Romanov family, could have been better executed.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Penny

    As an amalgam of romance and historical fiction, it was too damned much romance lit. I didn't finish it, as the romance manner of writing makes my teeth ache.

  15. 5 out of 5

    The Lit Bitch

    At first I was a little confused by the three different story-lines. I am used to books that toggle between a historic time period and the present, however this one skipped over three different periods basically spanning 100 years. Initially I wasn’t sure this would work well but overall I thought the stories came together nicely and I wasn’t completely lost or confused. Each woman was memorable and interesting. All three of the women start out a little timid and meek but grow into strong indepen At first I was a little confused by the three different story-lines. I am used to books that toggle between a historic time period and the present, however this one skipped over three different periods basically spanning 100 years. Initially I wasn’t sure this would work well but overall I thought the stories came together nicely and I wasn’t completely lost or confused. Each woman was memorable and interesting. All three of the women start out a little timid and meek but grow into strong independent women by the end. I loved that about this book. It was exciting to see them come into their own and grow throughout the story. In someways I wanted the novel to be a little longer because I wasn’t ready to say good bye to the characters so quickly! The author does a nice job of highlighting the opulence of pre-WWI Imperial Russia and then contrasting it with the war torn city of occupied Paris during WWII. I loved both time periods and how the author presented them, very well done. It’s not easy writing in three different historic periods but I thought she did a fantastic job showcasing her research and creating a realistic world for the reader to explore! See my full review here

  16. 5 out of 5

    Valerie Cole

    Ohhh my goodness. I totally did not see this ending happening at all. What an awesome twisty turny ride through the Romanov family tree. Brava, Jennifer Laam. Brava! More here --> http://bit.ly/1aDitXl Ohhh my goodness. I totally did not see this ending happening at all. What an awesome twisty turny ride through the Romanov family tree. Brava, Jennifer Laam. Brava! More here --> http://bit.ly/1aDitXl

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kim Friant

    A very excellent book!! i thought authors had twisted the Romanov stories as many times as possible, but this was a new twist and i very much enjoyed it! :)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Meagan

    Three-and-a half stars. Maybe three-and-three-quarters? I saw the 'huge' twist coming, I just wasn't sure how it would work out. I was much more interested in Lena & Charlotte's story then Veronica's. I just didn't connect with her at all, I thought she was a bit of a bore honestly. I think I would've enjoyed a lot more of what happened to Lena and Charlotte. The story was interesting a different take on the "One Who Survived" for the Romanov family. Three-and-a half stars. Maybe three-and-three-quarters? I saw the 'huge' twist coming, I just wasn't sure how it would work out. I was much more interested in Lena & Charlotte's story then Veronica's. I just didn't connect with her at all, I thought she was a bit of a bore honestly. I think I would've enjoyed a lot more of what happened to Lena and Charlotte. The story was interesting a different take on the "One Who Survived" for the Romanov family.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    This review can also be found at BookshelfBlogger and TheBookshelfBlogger A compelling alternate history of the Romanov family in which a secret fifth daughter—smuggled out of Russia before the revolution—continues the royal lineage to dramatic consequences In her riveting debut novel, The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, Jennifer Laam seamlessly braids together the stories of three women: Veronica, Lena, and Charlotte. Veronica is an aspiring historian living in present-day Los Angeles when she meets This review can also be found at BookshelfBlogger and TheBookshelfBlogger A compelling alternate history of the Romanov family in which a secret fifth daughter—smuggled out of Russia before the revolution—continues the royal lineage to dramatic consequences In her riveting debut novel, The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, Jennifer Laam seamlessly braids together the stories of three women: Veronica, Lena, and Charlotte. Veronica is an aspiring historian living in present-day Los Angeles when she meets a mysterious man who may be heir to the Russian throne. As she sets about investigating the legitimacy of his claim through a winding path of romance and deception, the ghosts of her own past begin to haunt her. Lena, a servant in the imperial Russian court of 1902, is approached by the desperate Empress Alexandra. After conceiving four daughters, the Empress is determined to sire a son and believes Lena can help her. Once elevated to the Romanov’s treacherous inner circle, Lena finds herself under the watchful eye of the meddling Dowager Empress Marie. Charlotte, a former ballerina living in World War II occupied Paris, receives a surprise visit from a German officer. Determined to protect her son from the Nazis, Charlotte escapes the city, but not before learning that the officer’s interest in her stems from his longstanding obsession with the fate of the Russian monarchy. Then as Veronica's passion intensifies, and her search for the true heir to the throne takes a dangerous turn, the reader learns just how these three vastly different women are connected. The Secret Daughter of the Tsar is thrilling from its first intense moments until its final, unexpected conclusion. -Goodreads summary Publication Date: October 22, 2013. Favorite Quote from the Book: “It's important to believe in something bigger than yourself.” My Thoughts: As you can tell, I picked up this book from Barnes & Noble for its beautiful cover and the concept of three different, possibly related, plots. I am pleasantly surprised to say that I loved this book! Firstly, I adore the writing style. Laam writes with plenty of factual information and combines this research in her plots. I never feel too bogged down by the historical information as it is elegantly weaved in her prose. Additionally, she switches these plots and their historical information easily so readers can follow the different time periods. In fact, Laam concludes these different plots with readers wanting more. For example, she frequently ends a chapter with a major cliff hanger/plot twist. Therefore, readers want to continue reading in order to find the solution. Simply, the writing style is factual, eloquent, and addicting. In addition to the writing style being addicting, I adore the characters in this book. The main protagonists are all women, and they are some pretty strong ladies! They all are daring and smart, but they have flaws which make them relatable. Also, I like how Laam approaches the sometimes taboo topic of strong women in history. Admittedly, much of history does not discuss the awesome women, but Laam presents some interesting women, especially the Empress and her mother-in-law. Therefore, this book is a great reminder that there are other women in history that have surpassed ordinary measures in order to be great, but we, like Laam, need to seek out them! Normally, I am disappointed by books with multiple plots as I find the major ending plot twist to be a major disappointment. However, this book’s ending has me still in shock. It is fantastic. I so desperately wish that I could elaborate, but I do not want to spoil it for anyone. Seriously, you must read this book in order to read this ending because it is amazing! My Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars! Recommendation: I’d recommend this to those who enjoy historical fiction and mystery books.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Erin Jackson

    I'm not usually one for historical novels, mainly because I'm worried I won't know enough about the time period to be able to follow along. But when Jennifer's prologue appeared in the selection of submissions for the critique group I was in, I was pulled into this rich world on page one (I fell in love with her writing before I ever knew her as a person. She's a pretty spiffy person, too). I was lucky enough to read most of this book in it's manuscript form, and I was always struck by how acces I'm not usually one for historical novels, mainly because I'm worried I won't know enough about the time period to be able to follow along. But when Jennifer's prologue appeared in the selection of submissions for the critique group I was in, I was pulled into this rich world on page one (I fell in love with her writing before I ever knew her as a person. She's a pretty spiffy person, too). I was lucky enough to read most of this book in it's manuscript form, and I was always struck by how accessible the book was, despite me having virtually no knowledge of Russian history, or even knowing much about the Romanovs themselves. When I finally got to read an official copy of it, the end was still a mystery to me. I'm glad I was able to read it all at once in a few days! The Secret Daughter of the Tsar is told from the POV of three very different women, in three very different time periods. Surprisingly for me, while I loved all three, I alternated between Lena and Charlotte being my favorites. Lena is a servant in the Romanov household who befriends the lonely and desperate-for-a-son (and heir) Alexandra (in 1901), and Charlotte is a ballerina living in Nazi-occupied Paris in 1941. Then we have present-day Veronica, an academic whose career teeters on the balance if she doesn't make tenure (she's working on a book about Alexandra Romanov with little support from her department). It's not immediately clear how these women (and the men in their lives!) are all connected, but that's where the fun of the novel lies. It has a The DaVinci Code-like quality to it; it's a fast-paced, fun, conspiracy theory come to life. Even if you figure out where it's all ultimately heading on a grand scale, the characters and their individual side-stories are all so intriguing, you're sure to keep flipping the pages to see how everyone is tied together in the end. The Secret Daughter of the Tsar is recommended for fans of Dan Brown and Russian history, and highly recommended to anyone who has wanted to read more historical fiction but found themselves a little intimidated (read: people like me). It's a fun ride!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Terrie Wolf

    I owe Veruka Salt an apology. You remember her, right? She was the demanding brat in WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. "I want it now," she said to her father and she was the character I least identified with until THIS book came my way. It made me want it, it stuck in my thoughts, it filled my head with dreams of things past, present and...see? It's doing it again. I've come to understand the giddy passion that comes from real, aching desire thanks to Laam's debut. It has to do with her ca I owe Veruka Salt an apology. You remember her, right? She was the demanding brat in WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. "I want it now," she said to her father and she was the character I least identified with until THIS book came my way. It made me want it, it stuck in my thoughts, it filled my head with dreams of things past, present and...see? It's doing it again. I've come to understand the giddy passion that comes from real, aching desire thanks to Laam's debut. It has to do with her captivating story within a story, exciting and unexpected plot twists, crafty characterizations, and the beautiful depiction of history as we think we know it, and possibly do not. Be prepared, this is not your grandmother's genealogy lesson and it's written quite unlike a good amount of historical fiction. My suggestion: sit down, buckle up, and hold on for one heck of a ride. Enjoy the scenery, if you dare. My money says you'll end up like me and my new friend Veruka. We're now, um, eagerly awaiting the sequel to this story. We want it. We're not brats. We just know a good thing when we see it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    Did the Empress Alexandria have a fifth daughter between Anastasia and the tsarevitch Alexei? (Oh and on the jacket flap it says the empress is determined to sire a son. No female can sire anything.) The narrative switches back and forth among Russia 1902, the USA of today, and the France of 1941 with each section moving the story forward and the connections among the events becoming clearer with each spiral twist. Is Michael the heir to the throne or not? Did the baby survive? I have some proble Did the Empress Alexandria have a fifth daughter between Anastasia and the tsarevitch Alexei? (Oh and on the jacket flap it says the empress is determined to sire a son. No female can sire anything.) The narrative switches back and forth among Russia 1902, the USA of today, and the France of 1941 with each section moving the story forward and the connections among the events becoming clearer with each spiral twist. Is Michael the heir to the throne or not? Did the baby survive? I have some problems which I can mention without spoiling the story. If that baby had been a boy how would they have proved it was the empress' without witnesses to the birth? If there was a baby girl and it did survive how could a descendant claim the throne when Russian law took no heed of female descent but only male? Other than that I enjoyed the book, especially having been introduced some time ago to the joys and frustrations of genealogical research.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kris Mehigan

    This is a 4.5 star read for me. Loved it... loved the Romanovs, the secret history, the way modern day was laced with history and brought it to life. Was absorbed by all three story lines- Lena's, Charlotte's and Veronica's. The only reason I didn't give it a complete 5 stars was due to personal preference- For the first few chapters I preferred the historical story lines to the contemporary... until I started to suspect the relevance of the modern line. Ms. Laam did an amazing job weaving all t This is a 4.5 star read for me. Loved it... loved the Romanovs, the secret history, the way modern day was laced with history and brought it to life. Was absorbed by all three story lines- Lena's, Charlotte's and Veronica's. The only reason I didn't give it a complete 5 stars was due to personal preference- For the first few chapters I preferred the historical story lines to the contemporary... until I started to suspect the relevance of the modern line. Ms. Laam did an amazing job weaving all three stories together. The story left me breathless at the end, but it was a very satisfying ending (no spoilers!) The book made me want to research all the Romanov characters. Excellent debut novel. Can't wait to read her next work!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sherri Stephens

    I loved this book. What an amazing debut novel. I can't wait to see more from this gifted writer.I love Russian History especially the Romanovs so this was right up my alley. The plot is set into three time periods about three seemingly unconnected women. The story unfolds with yet another (I wish it was true) theory that one of the Tsar's children survived. Only this time it wasn't one of the children that we read about in history. The book kept me guessing right up to the last few chapters. It I loved this book. What an amazing debut novel. I can't wait to see more from this gifted writer.I love Russian History especially the Romanovs so this was right up my alley. The plot is set into three time periods about three seemingly unconnected women. The story unfolds with yet another (I wish it was true) theory that one of the Tsar's children survived. Only this time it wasn't one of the children that we read about in history. The book kept me guessing right up to the last few chapters. It is somewhat of a historical fiction/mystery. I highly recommend this to anyone who likes historical fiction

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bryar Downs

    So far I am loving this book. It takes you from past to present and back again. It is not the normal style of book that I would ever consider reading so it has opened my mind to a different type of read. love love love this book. I am on the last chapter and when it all started coming together It took me a second to clue in and put it all together. Wow.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chrissy

    I love reading anything about the Romanovs...fiction, non-fiction...whatever it is, if it has Romanov's in it, I'll read it! This story is told through 3 different women in 3 different time periods. The present day scenario was very confusing to me until the end of the book, where it all came together and made sense. Overall an interesting "what if?" story!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Holtsclaw

    I feel terrible, I'm always rooting and cheering for an author's first novel to be spectacular. I just couldn't get into this book. I gave it 50 pages and had to give up. The writing is so corny and unsophisticated I started dreading picking it up.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    This book was surprisingly interesting. It was a very quick read which kept me captive the entire duration. I read it in less than a day. The main character was very realistic and I quite enjoyed her subtle spark. I appreciated that the male character wasn't just there as a love interest.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Taylor Hawkins

    Interesting story about an heir to the Russian throne who survives the revolution, well written and interesting. I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads program.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Ingram

    This book made me want to read more about Russian history.

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