counter create hit The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar

Availability: Ready to download

Drawing from decades of work, travel, and research in Russia, Robert Alexander re-creates the tragic, perennially fascinating story of the final days of Nicholas and Alexandra as seen through the eyes of the Romanovs' young kitchen boy, Leonka. Now an ancient Russian immigrant, Leonka claims to be the last living witness to the Romanovs' brutal murders and sets down the da Drawing from decades of work, travel, and research in Russia, Robert Alexander re-creates the tragic, perennially fascinating story of the final days of Nicholas and Alexandra as seen through the eyes of the Romanovs' young kitchen boy, Leonka. Now an ancient Russian immigrant, Leonka claims to be the last living witness to the Romanovs' brutal murders and sets down the dark secrets of his past with the imperial family. Does he hold the key to the many questions surrounding the family's murder? Historically vivid and compelling, The Kitchen Boy is also a touching portrait of a loving family that was in many ways similar, yet so different, from any other.


Compare
Ads Banner

Drawing from decades of work, travel, and research in Russia, Robert Alexander re-creates the tragic, perennially fascinating story of the final days of Nicholas and Alexandra as seen through the eyes of the Romanovs' young kitchen boy, Leonka. Now an ancient Russian immigrant, Leonka claims to be the last living witness to the Romanovs' brutal murders and sets down the da Drawing from decades of work, travel, and research in Russia, Robert Alexander re-creates the tragic, perennially fascinating story of the final days of Nicholas and Alexandra as seen through the eyes of the Romanovs' young kitchen boy, Leonka. Now an ancient Russian immigrant, Leonka claims to be the last living witness to the Romanovs' brutal murders and sets down the dark secrets of his past with the imperial family. Does he hold the key to the many questions surrounding the family's murder? Historically vivid and compelling, The Kitchen Boy is also a touching portrait of a loving family that was in many ways similar, yet so different, from any other.

30 review for The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar

  1. 4 out of 5

    Robert Alexander

    Hey, I wrote it, what am I supposed to say but I love it!

  2. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    aaaand my massive binge read on all russian related books continues. я ни о чем не жалею! if i hadnt already known before picking this up that it was a work of historical fiction, i would have never assumed that. not in a million years. i was blown away at how much of this read like a memoir. the story felt so personal and so realistically genuine. yes, the events that happened were unfortunately real, but wow. i believed nearly every single word of this book! and if that isnt a testament to the aaaand my massive binge read on all russian related books continues. я ни о чем не жалею! if i hadnt already known before picking this up that it was a work of historical fiction, i would have never assumed that. not in a million years. i was blown away at how much of this read like a memoir. the story felt so personal and so realistically genuine. yes, the events that happened were unfortunately real, but wow. i believed nearly every single word of this book! and if that isnt a testament to the phenomenal quality of this story (not to mention the research done to ensure its accuracy), then i dont know what is. i found this to be quite moving, highly informational, and truly a gem of a book on what was otherwise a terribly dark moment in history. very well done! ↠ 4 stars

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    4.5 stars *rounded up* Many years ago, in my high school world history class, I was assigned a research project. I cannot recall how or why I ended up with Rasputin being my research topic, but he became the subject of my project. It was then and there that my strong interest in the Romanov story was born. Ever since, I have been fascinated by the Romanov family and this tumultuous piece of history. And for anyone interested in the tragic tale of the Romanovs, The Kitchen Boy, is a fantastic read 4.5 stars *rounded up* Many years ago, in my high school world history class, I was assigned a research project. I cannot recall how or why I ended up with Rasputin being my research topic, but he became the subject of my project. It was then and there that my strong interest in the Romanov story was born. Ever since, I have been fascinated by the Romanov family and this tumultuous piece of history. And for anyone interested in the tragic tale of the Romanovs, The Kitchen Boy, is a fantastic read. This novel, by Robert Alexander, is a fine piece of historical fiction. Told from the perspective of Leonka, a kitchen boy, working in the house where the Romanovs were imprisoned, this novel explores the last few weeks of the Romanov’s lives. Robert Alexander does an excellent job with the entire setting and feeling of this book. It feels very personal and poignant, and the flow of this novel is astounding. Although we all know what ultimately happens to the Romanov family, the build up along the way is full of tension, anxiety, and fear. There is a heaviness that accompanies this story. Not only that, there are deeper mysteries lurking throughout this novel. Connecting present with past, truths and lies and confessions come pouring out, giving the reader a very interesting mystery to piece together. I must say, I thought by the end I had it all figured out, but I did not! The last several pages had me completely on edge. For fans of historical fiction, for fans of historical mysteries, and for anyone who is simply curious about the Romanov family, I highly recommend The Kitchen Boy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    Like all well-educated individuals, I first learned about the Romanovs from the animated movie Anastasia. I know you remember it. Don't deny it. A Brief Father Cameo A Sweet Romance Between Meg Ryan Anastasia and John Cusack Dimitri You Want a Little Sass with that Romance? You Betcha! I am still a kid at heart and still adore this movie for everything that it is (I fear that "accurate" is not something that it is). Unfortunately, this means that my obsession interest was based on LIES. Being aw Like all well-educated individuals, I first learned about the Romanovs from the animated movie Anastasia. I know you remember it. Don't deny it. A Brief Father Cameo A Sweet Romance Between Meg Ryan Anastasia and John Cusack Dimitri You Want a Little Sass with that Romance? You Betcha! I am still a kid at heart and still adore this movie for everything that it is (I fear that "accurate" is not something that it is). Unfortunately, this means that my obsession interest was based on LIES. Being aware of this, I decided to approach The Kitchen Boy as a newborn babe - unaware, innocent, and wrinkly yet adorable. You know what I loved about this book? Well, a lot of things, but the first was that it didn't go on and on and on and on (much like this review may end up doing). It was short and precise but also very powerful. There is a mystery/twist, but I was a little oblivious and didn't get caught up in that at all. Much of the book was the day to day activities of the Romanov family and the select servants still with them, but it didn't feel repetitive. Even the mundane "rinse, lather, repeat" days fascinated me. The mystery/twist was just a bonus. I loved that the way the characters were presented made me grow attached to them. Good Because: I felt connected to the characters. I felt like I was there. A fly on the wall. I felt my heart break for that poor Tsar and Tsarista because they weren't evil; they were just oblivious and ignorant and too wrapped up in their own family and four walls. And while I don't love feeling sad (ok, sometimes I do), I do love a book that can make me feel. Bad Because: I just dreaded what I knew was going to happen all the more. I went to bed right before that part of the book because I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep if I read it then. I loved that there was Russian throughout. It made me want to learn Russian, and I was walking around my house repeating words in an incredibly horrific amazing Russian accent/imitation. I felt so fancy! I don't read a ton of historical fiction because the story I read usually gets into my head, and I confuse it with the truth. I forget that it is a work of fiction and find it difficult to detach and remember that it was written as a fictional account of events. This is why I appreciated the authors note: ...the indented passages, select notes, and letters attributed to the Romanovs, their captors, and Rasputin are all accurate and can be found in various archives. This helped me separate the fiction from the non-fiction. Sometimes a girl needs a little help. Next time I will just pick up a non-fiction book and save myself the headache. Still a great book and a great story. 4 Stars

  5. 5 out of 5

    Adrianne

    For the first 170 pages, I felt like the Alexander was beating a dead horse by focusing on the same four points over and over again. 1)Leonka was the kitchen boy, 2)Although Tsar and Tsaritsa had many failings, they were good people that deeply loved their family and Russia, 3) The conditions the Romanovs were kept in were terrible with little hope of escape, and 4)Misha hated himself for how history unfolded. Seriously, I was sick of these points being described again and again. Yet, I didn't s For the first 170 pages, I felt like the Alexander was beating a dead horse by focusing on the same four points over and over again. 1)Leonka was the kitchen boy, 2)Although Tsar and Tsaritsa had many failings, they were good people that deeply loved their family and Russia, 3) The conditions the Romanovs were kept in were terrible with little hope of escape, and 4)Misha hated himself for how history unfolded. Seriously, I was sick of these points being described again and again. Yet, I didn't skip a single sentence. I think that's because Alexander would unfold them in a slightly different angel every time. So... I guess I liked Alexander’s writing style. By the way, this was our Book Club's March book. Many of my friends had finished the book before I did. They kept telling me how the end had a twist and how they were still thinking about the ending. I thought, “How could this book have a cool twist for an ending?” The book was so straight forward and dull with description that I knew I could predict the ending. So, I thought of the most wild and strangest endings I could think of—just in case it was a really crazy twist. I am not going to appear smart at my Book Club on Thursday. I was NO WHERE close to guessing the ending!!! The last seventy pages, WOW! I couldn't read fast enough! There were so many twists and turns. And that's how I came to give this book three stars. And guess what? Those four points is what makes the ending that much better.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tania

    Nikolai, Aleksandra, and their five children were the ultimate symbols, both good and bad, of all that was Russia... 3.5 stars. If like me, you know very little about the Romanov's, this is an excellent introduction. The author explains, while blending it in as part of the story, the politics and history. He also shows that bad rulers, can still be good people. And to top it off he manages to still add a lot of suspense to a story where everyone knows the ending.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Angela Watts

    I was assigned this book for school; my Ma hadn't read it, just bought it offline. It went with our last year's study of Russia, and the Romanov family. Granted, of course, we learned plenty and read books on the time line, learned about Russia, saw the anger and the mobs during that bad time, etc. But no book brought to life just how tragic and serious that time of history was like this fictional novel. Not for me. I was never interested much in the history of Russia. I'd started reading the L I was assigned this book for school; my Ma hadn't read it, just bought it offline. It went with our last year's study of Russia, and the Romanov family. Granted, of course, we learned plenty and read books on the time line, learned about Russia, saw the anger and the mobs during that bad time, etc. But no book brought to life just how tragic and serious that time of history was like this fictional novel. Not for me. I was never interested much in the history of Russia. I'd started reading the Last Tsar, and found that obviously the history was absolutely awful. An entire royal family being murdered in the same room, with their servants and their dog, too; I couldn't imagine that graphic, that horrific kind of thing. This book is from the fiction perspective of the 'kitchen boy'- he lives with the Romanov family while they're 'under lock down' (basically, that's what happened). Honestly, I can't give much of this story away because it's just... so stunning and astonishingly told. The story leads you on. Not slowly, nor so fast you lose track of what's happening. I loved how it was told, the style of writing. It wasn't some far-fetched, extravagant tale- no. It was told in a serious, startling tone. That time of history was crucial- and it was told as such. It wasn't on a whim; the story and the perspective it was told from was all very keen. I was never bored. I was dragged in so fast, by the writing, by the story: I was gaping. At how significant it all was. How it all happened in history. Whether I was grounded by the actual history, or the fictional bits that slid so perfectly in alignment with the truth (the history).... It seriously all fell into place. Into perspective. Into line. Whether I was staring in utter surprise, or covering my mouth because 'Dang. Dang.': it was all real. Real, cruel, hard, smooth and then jagged, hope and no hope.... The only thing that bummed me with this book, was the fact there seemed to be no hope. If there was, it was crushed and found as a lie. I didn't particularity like that- with the kitchen boy's end... I feel that he didn't have to end like that. With no hope. Perhaps the author (and the world) found what ended and how the boy's thoughts were in his final time more 'realistic' or something... But I don't. As the story is told, yes, the narrator did some very, very bad things. But I was forced to think as I read: would God forgive him? If the man asked for forgiveness for what he had done, would Yeshua have forgiven him? I do not know if the author was a Christian or such; but that ending, that part, I found wrong. Hope, faith, it IS there. We are not lost cases. Not with God. God was in no part of this book, so I didn't quite expect for hope to be found in the story: but I wish it had. I think that if faith in God had been a part of the narrators heart: it would have been different for him. Because he did not, I felt deeply sorry for him. It was that gripping and moving of a book, in a way; though I wrestled in distaste because no hope was present, I still saw the character's utter lost self. It showed me what we really are without God, when we face our sins and past alone. Without mercy, without His Love. This book is still one of the best I think I've read. It was a fascinating, heart wrenching story. The history itself has lessons to teach, and to see it written out in such a story really made it all the more vivid. This book is not a 'clean' novel: it is about a very dark, horrific time in history. It portrays the history as such. Because of this, this book is graphic, and bad cussing is used once in the book (at least, super bad cussing.).... While some of the facts of this book may be unsettling for others, it was not that bad to me, and the book seemed very honest to me... I got the insights of just how bad it was.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

    I am demoting this book to two stars because after stewing for a couple of months, I've decided it annoys me. The Kitchen Boy is not bad. The language of the narration is interesting. There is a stilted, halting, slightly awkward flow to the language which reminds me of how my husband (who lived in Russia until his mid-20s) would write in English. I'm not sure if Robert Alexander (a native English speaker) wrote like this on purpose or not. But in general I'm not very impressed with the style. I I am demoting this book to two stars because after stewing for a couple of months, I've decided it annoys me. The Kitchen Boy is not bad. The language of the narration is interesting. There is a stilted, halting, slightly awkward flow to the language which reminds me of how my husband (who lived in Russia until his mid-20s) would write in English. I'm not sure if Robert Alexander (a native English speaker) wrote like this on purpose or not. But in general I'm not very impressed with the style. I've generally avoided reading fictional accounts of the Romanovs generally because there is so much documentation on who they were and what happened to them - and their story is so outrageous, sickening, and heartbreaking - that fiction just seems unnecessary. And there's a lot of EXTREMELY well-written nonfiction books on the subject. Just read Robert Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra, for god's sake. Most of the book is confessional-style - the narrator (the kitchen boy) is spilling his guts to a tape recorder. There is a fairly predictable twist at the end and I don't really buy some of the reasoning that the characters made justifying the secrecy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Leanna

    Robert Alexander’s The Kitchen Boy is a fictionalized account of the Romanovs’ last days. Several historical records mention a kitchen boy working for Tsar Nicholas and Tsarina Alexandra during their captivity in Yekaterinburg. These references inspired the novel. Misha is the kitchen boy. In the late 1990s, he lives in the United States and has recently lost his wife. Before dying himself, he makes a tape for his granddaughter, explaining exactly what happened to the Romanovs on the days precedi Robert Alexander’s The Kitchen Boy is a fictionalized account of the Romanovs’ last days. Several historical records mention a kitchen boy working for Tsar Nicholas and Tsarina Alexandra during their captivity in Yekaterinburg. These references inspired the novel. Misha is the kitchen boy. In the late 1990s, he lives in the United States and has recently lost his wife. Before dying himself, he makes a tape for his granddaughter, explaining exactly what happened to the Romanovs on the days preceding and immediately following their murders. I was fascinated by the account, particularly since most of my background on the topic comes directly from the animated feature Anastasia. Alexander humanizes the royal family but also holds them accountable for much of Russia’s recent history. Indeed, Misha suggests if the royal family had acted differently, had been more in tune with the country, they could have prevented Stalin’s eventual reign of terror and spared the lives of millions. Despite their heavy historical responsibility, despite knowing their fates, I irrationally hoped the family, particularly the children, would escape and was horrified by the manner of their deaths. The women had hidden jewels in their corsets. When the firing squad shot at the princesses, the bullets ricocheted off the gems, prolonging their deaths. Unfortunately, the book’s ending goes astray, pushing reality so much I could no longer suspend my disbelief. Like Alexander’s Rasputin’s Daughter, though, Kitchen Boy inspired me to research further to discover how much of Alexander’s account was based on fact and what we really know about those last few days. Despite the obvious liberties Alexander takes, the book does not claim to be anything but fiction; it is well written and certainly entertaining.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette Lewis

    The story of the last Romanov Tsar, Nicholas II and his brutal murder, the family and their staff has been one of conspiracy theories, mystery and fantasy. The connections to Queen Victoria, “Queen of Europe” and the royal interbred European royal dynasties were all part of the same fantasy. An old man relates his part in the lives of the Romanovs when they were prisoners. His misgivings of lies told over a lifetime weigh heavily on him and the last lie is revealed finally only by his lack of go The story of the last Romanov Tsar, Nicholas II and his brutal murder, the family and their staff has been one of conspiracy theories, mystery and fantasy. The connections to Queen Victoria, “Queen of Europe” and the royal interbred European royal dynasties were all part of the same fantasy. An old man relates his part in the lives of the Romanovs when they were prisoners. His misgivings of lies told over a lifetime weigh heavily on him and the last lie is revealed finally only by his lack of good housekeeping. The story is a reasonable tale although I was bored with the constant day to day details of the Romanov imprisonment to a point that long before the end I realised that there were to be more revelations by the end. The opportunity to create more around the granddaughter was missed, something that would have made this read more enjoyable for me. One paragraph dealing with escape from Russia was insufficient and seemed a fill in. One only has to observe the plight of refugees even today to realise that escape from persecution is difficult and dangerous let alone in 1918 during the time of the Russian revolution. The epilogue deals with the final twist to the story but is a disappointing effort.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Camela

    Loved it! I love historical fiction. I get to learn more about history AND I get a great story. This is one of those books. And even though I knew it was going to end very badly, I still wanted to see it through. I especially enjoyed getting immersed in the Russian psyche. (from first reading) I'm excited to be sharing this book with a new book club. Yes, I enjoyed it that much.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bex Kula Hildrew

    I was really excited to read this book as I have always been interested in learning more about the Romanovs and this was a fictionalized first hand account of the last days of the family. Perfect. However, the first half of it was super slow and ridiculously repetitive. Often phrases were written out in Russian, than immediately translated. At first this was really interesting but than became a little much. Started to seem like merely a way to bump the length/word count. I wanted to give up but I was really excited to read this book as I have always been interested in learning more about the Romanovs and this was a fictionalized first hand account of the last days of the family. Perfect. However, the first half of it was super slow and ridiculously repetitive. Often phrases were written out in Russian, than immediately translated. At first this was really interesting but than became a little much. Started to seem like merely a way to bump the length/word count. I wanted to give up but pressed on. I was glad that I did as it got very good and became a serious page turner...until the very end turned into complete and utter trash. I love historical fiction. I love reading a story woven with facts and information on time periods, cultures and events that I know little about. The "fiction" part though needs to be only the devise, the serving platter for those fun factoids. When the fiction part starts to take over and the author rewrites history, no thanks.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Told from the point of view of an elderly "kitchen boy" recording a history of the last days of the Romanovs, the writing style of this book was a little stilted. The facts, while interesting, didn't read as a smooth narrative, but rather a dry recitation. I give the author credit for making Nicholas and Alexandra sympathetic, but not forgetting to include their flaws. *spoiler* The ending just about ruined the book for me. Though I had pretty much guessed the "big secret" from early on - I just c Told from the point of view of an elderly "kitchen boy" recording a history of the last days of the Romanovs, the writing style of this book was a little stilted. The facts, while interesting, didn't read as a smooth narrative, but rather a dry recitation. I give the author credit for making Nicholas and Alexandra sympathetic, but not forgetting to include their flaws. *spoiler* The ending just about ruined the book for me. Though I had pretty much guessed the "big secret" from early on - I just could not buy that Grand Duchess Maria would not only forgive one of the Bolsheviks who imprisoned and murdered her family - but would fall in love and marry him! I don't care how innocent he looked, or how much he regretted his actions.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    The simplistic writing style seems to be the norm for historical-fiction nowadays and maybe it's to ensure the writing doesn't get in the way of the premise but the impact can be construed as patronising at times. Anyway, I am scooting through this and am just at the point where Nicholas reads The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which he considers useful, and the point is made that he never gets to realise that it was a hoax of colossal obnoxiousness. Another thought that could be worth discuss The simplistic writing style seems to be the norm for historical-fiction nowadays and maybe it's to ensure the writing doesn't get in the way of the premise but the impact can be construed as patronising at times. Anyway, I am scooting through this and am just at the point where Nicholas reads The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which he considers useful, and the point is made that he never gets to realise that it was a hoax of colossal obnoxiousness. Another thought that could be worth discussion about mindsets - it is interesting to know who read what during captivity, a great issue was/is made of Hitler's prison reading list. --- Opening paragraph: America Summer 1998 "My name is Mikhail Semyonov. I live in Lake Forest village, Illinois state, the United States of America. I am ninety-four years old. I was born in Russia before the revolution. I was born in Tula province and my name then was not Mikhail or even Misha, as I am known here in America. No, my real name - the one given to me at birth - was Leonid Sednyov, and I was known as Leonka. Please forgive my years of lies, but now I tell you the truth. What I wish to confess is that I was the kitchen boy in the Ipatiev House where the Tsar and Tsaritsa, Nikolai and Aleksandra, were imprisoned. This was in Siberia. And ... and the night they were executed I was sent away. They sent me away, but I snuck back, and that night, the moonless night of July 16-17, 1918, I saw the Tsar and his family come down the back twenty-three steps of the Ipatiev House, I saw them go into that cellar room ... and I saw them shot. Trust me, believe me, when I say this: I am the last living witness and I alone know what happened that awful night ... just as I alone know where the bodies of the two missing children are to be found. You see, I took care of them with my own hands." As some of you know we haven't that long ago visited St. Putinsburg, so of course we visited the Winter Palace Hermitage Museum and stood where the last Tsar and his family were kept confined for so long before being taken off to their ultimate stay upon their last journey. As always, standing where some momentous 'space' in history occured, it made us shiver at the cruelty and blinkeredness of humankind. Now as I understand it, this book was ordered by me because somewhere it was going to be book of the month and it has taken so long to arrive that I have probably missed all the action and discussion; nevermind, I shall still read with avid interest, another rendition of this sad tale.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Railee

    It isn't clear to me what exactly the author of this book was hoping to accomplish when he wrote "The Kitchen Boy". When starting it, I'd been under the impression that it was a ficion in some shape or form, but almost the whole way through I felt like I was reading a documentary on the Romanov family- a compilation of facts (some quite randome) and events that I already knew. And so I decided that Mr. Alexander's goal in writing this book, was merely to educate those who cared to know on the om It isn't clear to me what exactly the author of this book was hoping to accomplish when he wrote "The Kitchen Boy". When starting it, I'd been under the impression that it was a ficion in some shape or form, but almost the whole way through I felt like I was reading a documentary on the Romanov family- a compilation of facts (some quite randome) and events that I already knew. And so I decided that Mr. Alexander's goal in writing this book, was merely to educate those who cared to know on the omanov's last days in the Ipiev House, their murder, and multiple burials. This conclusion satisfied me for a while, until brief moments of fictional creativity appeared here and there, upsetting the hystorical accuracy I'd lulled myself into expecting. It just didn't flow. It wasn't until the very end of the book (The last chapter and the Epilogue, actually) that I really felt like I was reading a work of fiction and felt any real interest in the book, because it isn't until the end that the fictional twist is revealed and explained. If Robert Alexander's goal in writing "The Kitchen Boy" was to document the last days of the Romanov family, he would have met that goal very nicely if he hadn't confused history with his random, fictional twist thrown in as an afterthought to conclude the documentary. If his goal was to take a well-known historical tragedy and turn it into an intriguing, believable work of fiction, he failed miserably by making his readers suffer through 20 or so chapters of unnecisary historical facts before getting to his plot (which only lasts about one chapter). I think that the idea of his fictional twist was great! If it had been handled differently, it had the potential to be a great historical fiction! Sadly, as it is, it's hard for me to see this book as anything more than an odd way to write a documentary.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elysium

    After Misha’s wife dies, he feels it’s his time soon and records his memories about what happened in 1918 and leaves the tape to his granddaughter Kate. Misha, or Leonka as he was called, went into captivity with the Romanov family and worked as their kitchen boy. He becomes involved in the family’s escape plans and comes to care for the family. The same day that the Romanovs are executed, Leonka is removed from the family but manages to escape. He runs back to the house and sees what happened t After Misha’s wife dies, he feels it’s his time soon and records his memories about what happened in 1918 and leaves the tape to his granddaughter Kate. Misha, or Leonka as he was called, went into captivity with the Romanov family and worked as their kitchen boy. He becomes involved in the family’s escape plans and comes to care for the family. The same day that the Romanovs are executed, Leonka is removed from the family but manages to escape. He runs back to the house and sees what happened to Romanovs. After Misha’s death Kate becomes convinced that there is something wrong with Misha’s story. I have to say I was bit disappointed with this but it wasn’t bad either. It was kinda slow going, which isn’t surprising since they were arrested after all. But I couldn’t connect with the characters at all. They didn’t have enough time and most of the book we hear Leonka’s thoughts about the family. There we used lot of Russian words and sentenced and even if English translation was after it, it was really confusing and annoying. I mean since they’re Russian one would think they speak Russian, right? And I didn’t like that last secret in the end at all. I didn’t see the need for it and why a person who we haven’t heard about? I’m trying not to vent it out here for spoilers but I was so annoyed. It was quite enjoyable but I guess I had higher expectations for it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mina Vucicevic

    I really expected this book to be good, or at least interesting. Needless to say, I am extremely disappointed. Most of the novel is very repetitive. Basically, all we get are endless descriptions of how the Romanovs hid their jewels, how expensive they were, and what good, brilliant people the Emperor and the Empress were. According to the author, they were simply misguided. Having in mind that their rule was marked by extreme poverty and hunger, after such statements I just couldn't take this bo I really expected this book to be good, or at least interesting. Needless to say, I am extremely disappointed. Most of the novel is very repetitive. Basically, all we get are endless descriptions of how the Romanovs hid their jewels, how expensive they were, and what good, brilliant people the Emperor and the Empress were. According to the author, they were simply misguided. Having in mind that their rule was marked by extreme poverty and hunger, after such statements I just couldn't take this book seriously. Still, I would have given it 2 stars had it not been for the ending. The last 20 or so pages include probably the worst plot twist I've ever heard of. It's not just unrealistic - it's stupid and pointless.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alissa

    Having known neither anything about the Romanovs nor anything at all about Russian customs or the language, I found this book an excellent primer in those historical details many people are already familiar with. The way that the fiction is depicted within the well-researched, factual occurrences is well done, and very creative. At times, Alexander's writing style is....is annoying, but thankfully there are many dry spells of this "ellipsical" habit. The end is pretty gory (as only the execution Having known neither anything about the Romanovs nor anything at all about Russian customs or the language, I found this book an excellent primer in those historical details many people are already familiar with. The way that the fiction is depicted within the well-researched, factual occurrences is well done, and very creative. At times, Alexander's writing style is....is annoying, but thankfully there are many dry spells of this "ellipsical" habit. The end is pretty gory (as only the execution and burial of an entire family and their closest companions can be), so I don't recommend this to the faint of heart or to children.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Katie Hutchison Irion

    If I could I would give this a 3.5. I think it is worth reading. It is about the Romanov's last days before they were all brutally massacred. (I know, very uplifting.) I read this about a year ago and I still occasionally find myself thinking about what happened to Anastasia. You know, they never found her body. Creepy. Anyway, I was bothered that there was never an explanation of what was fiction and what was accurate. I don't like that. I like to know what parts I read are true and what parts If I could I would give this a 3.5. I think it is worth reading. It is about the Romanov's last days before they were all brutally massacred. (I know, very uplifting.) I read this about a year ago and I still occasionally find myself thinking about what happened to Anastasia. You know, they never found her body. Creepy. Anyway, I was bothered that there was never an explanation of what was fiction and what was accurate. I don't like that. I like to know what parts I read are true and what parts are just embellishments from the author.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Isabeau

    *4.5* Although I understand it's supposed to be fiction, some historical inaccuracies bothered me too much to give this book a full five stars. That being said, I immensely enjoyed it. Also, the plot twist at the end? Just, what? Totally did not see that one coming. It's pretty much how you wish the story had gone. The Romanovs have fascinated me for years, and it was interesting to see Alexander's take on their last months of captivity.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Narrated by Leonka, the kitchen boy, this is the story - part fact, part fiction - of the Romanovs last month. Using some of their real-life letters, notes and diary entries, and with storytelling that incorporates both haunting factual detail and suspenseful dramatic fiction, it’s a desperately sad but equally fascinating page turner. A riveting read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    Excellent historical novel about the final days of the last Tsar of Russia and his family. A plot that makes you want to keep reading, with a great twist at the end.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Roberta Frontini (Blogue FLAMES)

    One of my FAVOURITE books of ALL times!!!!!!!!!!! I recommend it! My opinion on my blog: http://flamesmr.blogspot.pt/2010/12/l... One of my FAVOURITE books of ALL times!!!!!!!!!!! I recommend it! My opinion on my blog: http://flamesmr.blogspot.pt/2010/12/l...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Joe Krakovsky

    Ok, so it was about history that you can read in any book, right? Wrong! Knowing what eventually happened as hinted at in the book, I switched over to Wikipedia for a little more background to the story, you know, to fill in the blanks. Oh, there were plenty of details concerning those mass murdering Reds all right. Something that somebody should have pointed out to my fellow students back in '72 who thought that Communists were cool dudes. You see, that must have been what the Tsar and his fam Ok, so it was about history that you can read in any book, right? Wrong! Knowing what eventually happened as hinted at in the book, I switched over to Wikipedia for a little more background to the story, you know, to fill in the blanks. Oh, there were plenty of details concerning those mass murdering Reds all right. Something that somebody should have pointed out to my fellow students back in '72 who thought that Communists were cool dudes. You see, that must have been what the Tsar and his family thought as they patiently awaited their fate. After all, they loved Russia and their people loved them, or so they thought. I wasn't the only one drawn to researching more to this story. My fellow book club members admitted to this same magnetism that the author managed to create between his characters and the readers. Yes it was history, but the author so skillfully wove the participants lives into his tale that it wasn't until the very end that you realize that it is indeed a brilliant work of fiction.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Maria Burnham

    This novel is a captivating story of the execution of the last Tsar in Russia (and his family) during the Bolshevik Revolution. The story, of course, is from the perspective of the family's kitchen boy during the days in captivity prior to the execution. The writing of the novel is beautiful. It's a short book, too, so the descriptions are concise, yet detailed. However, I held back on giving it 5 stars because the first part is a little tedious. I understand the background is necessary, but I j This novel is a captivating story of the execution of the last Tsar in Russia (and his family) during the Bolshevik Revolution. The story, of course, is from the perspective of the family's kitchen boy during the days in captivity prior to the execution. The writing of the novel is beautiful. It's a short book, too, so the descriptions are concise, yet detailed. However, I held back on giving it 5 stars because the first part is a little tedious. I understand the background is necessary, but I just wasn't engrossed in the plot until the execution part. I recommend the story, especially if you are a fan of international stories and/or historical fiction.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Leah Christine

    If you too have a fascination with the Tsar family, this is a great read of what the final days might have been like. It is unexpected. Read this again years after the first time and still really liked it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Natalie K

    Would have been a solid four stars if not for (view spoiler)[the stupid twist at the end. Seriously, books in which some of the Romanovs survive their execution really annoy me because they're usually so unrealistic. Look, people, I don't care how many jewels a person has sewn into a corset—it's not possible to survive point-blank gunshots to the head AND stabs from bayonets. Really, the book should have ended with Kate/Katya giving the Faberge eggs and such to the museum in Russia. Because anot Would have been a solid four stars if not for (view spoiler)[the stupid twist at the end. Seriously, books in which some of the Romanovs survive their execution really annoy me because they're usually so unrealistic. Look, people, I don't care how many jewels a person has sewn into a corset—it's not possible to survive point-blank gunshots to the head AND stabs from bayonets. Really, the book should have ended with Kate/Katya giving the Faberge eggs and such to the museum in Russia. Because another issue I had with the twist is I HATED the main character afterwards. I liked him better when I believed he was the kitchen boy, which he turns out not to be. Sorry I'm not sorry for not being able to muster up sympathy for a person who would volunteer to take part in the execution of an unarmed group of people, most of whom are innocent children and servants. (hide spoiler)] Also, there were some mighty weird transliterations of Russian words. Russian is written in the Cyrillic alphabet, of course, so I understand that you've got to transliterate for an English-speaking audience. But I saw something like "xoroshow" for the Russian word хорошо [khorosho]. I'm not saying I'm the final arbiter of transliterations—just that there were some weird ones there, especially for a person who claims to be a Russian speaker. (For the record, I speak Russian, too.)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Barb

    I wanted to read this book for a long time before I finally picked it up. Now that I've read it I have mixed feelings about this story. I thought it was interesting, I liked the narrative and the perspective the author chose for his narrator, I also liked the twist at the end which gives a hopeful spin to the horrible events that really happened. I've never read anything about the Romanovs before and this story made me want to learn more. So, while I was reading this I picked up 'Nicholas and Ale I wanted to read this book for a long time before I finally picked it up. Now that I've read it I have mixed feelings about this story. I thought it was interesting, I liked the narrative and the perspective the author chose for his narrator, I also liked the twist at the end which gives a hopeful spin to the horrible events that really happened. I've never read anything about the Romanovs before and this story made me want to learn more. So, while I was reading this I picked up 'Nicholas and Alexandra' by Robert K. Massie and looked at the photographs of the Romanov family and read a little bit of non-fiction about the events in this story. I like the way Robert Alexander portrays Tsar Nicholas and his family as honest, simple, loving people. What I didn't care for was how sad this story made me. Even with the hopeful twist at the end this book just bummed me out. I thought the writing was good, the story telling was good, the dialog was realistic...all of the things I judge a book by were well done. It was the effect the book had on me that I didn't like and I guess that's the Bolsheviks fault not the fault of Robert Alexander. Overall, I thought this was well written and clever, but very sad.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    I would have stopped reading this if I hadn't been using it for a challenge or if it had been longer. The frame of the story is that it is being told by an elderly rich man in Chicago who is recording it for his granddaughter. He describes his experiences as a teenage boy in Russia who was a kitchen servant during the Tsar's imprisonment. He adores the Tsar and his family and thinks the Bolsheviks are evil. I couldn't take the hero-worship. And while so much of the country was starving, the mothe I would have stopped reading this if I hadn't been using it for a challenge or if it had been longer. The frame of the story is that it is being told by an elderly rich man in Chicago who is recording it for his granddaughter. He describes his experiences as a teenage boy in Russia who was a kitchen servant during the Tsar's imprisonment. He adores the Tsar and his family and thinks the Bolsheviks are evil. I couldn't take the hero-worship. And while so much of the country was starving, the mother and daughter are sewing their jewels into garments for safekeeping (view spoiler)[ which explains how the main character is so rich after leaving Russia (hide spoiler)] . I didn't find any of the characters sympathetic. As many other reviewers have mentioned, there is a twist at the end of the book when it comes back to Mischa as an old man. I felt this part was gratuitous and didn't fit in. It seemed like the author was writing two separate stories at that point - one aimed at people who might have been interested in the history and one aimed at people who like mysteries. Neither part worked.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Clare

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. If you've ever been curious about Czar Nicholas & his family, this is the book for you. It is a fictionalized account of the family's days in exile, including their horrific death and the aftermath. Although the writing style is simple, the narrator is a kitchen boy (we think) - so we don't expect eloquence. Yet, I give the author a lot of credit because he describes scenes (especially the murder scene) so perfectly that we totally believe he was there. Heck, most people who witnessed such a hein If you've ever been curious about Czar Nicholas & his family, this is the book for you. It is a fictionalized account of the family's days in exile, including their horrific death and the aftermath. Although the writing style is simple, the narrator is a kitchen boy (we think) - so we don't expect eloquence. Yet, I give the author a lot of credit because he describes scenes (especially the murder scene) so perfectly that we totally believe he was there. Heck, most people who witnessed such a heinous crime would never be able to communicate it so clearly on paper. The book began a little slowly. Particularly in the scenes of Misha's current life - he just seems like a bloke in the Midwest, the exciting part of his life has passed - get on with it and take us to Russia, please. Once we get to Russia, you'll find it hard to put down this book. This book has piqued my interest so much that I plan to research more about the Romanovs and their last days. I want to sort fact from fiction.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.