It’s 2019, which means it’s over a hundred years since the Russian revolution overturned the Romanov dynasty, and the rumours about Anastasia have yet to die. In Romanov, Nadine Brandes has melded the facts with the rumours, added a fantastical element of spellmasters and magic potions, and created a brilliant novel in the style of Fawkes (but different).
Anyone who knows the Romanov story will know the basics of the plot of Romanov.
But I’m not going to spoil any of the details for those who don’t. I suspect readers who know the story will find it easier to get into Romanov, but the background knowledge isn’t necessary.
Romanov is the story of Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna.
At sixteen, Anastasia is the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas of Russia. But Nicholas is no longer Tsar, and Nastya is no longer a princess. All she and her family want is the opportunity to live their lives as normal Russian citizens in a village somewhere. And Nastya wants to learn the secrets of spells, so she can care for and perhaps even heal Alexei, her younger brother.
The story brings out Nastya’s intelligence, determination, and devotion—both to her family, and to the Russian people. Brandes does a convincing job of showing her as a resourceful young woman who, despite her privileged upbringing, genuinely cares for the people and wants the best for them. But, like the rest of her family, she does not believe the Bolsheviks and the new Soviet government will bring that best.
Imprisonment brings out the best in Nastya and the rest of her family, and many of the guards are loyal to the family while still supporting the Bolshevik cause.
Yes, there is a fantasy element to Romanov—this is a world with magic.
However, the family pray to Iisus (Jesus), and are of strong faith. So while Romanov isn’t an overtly Christian novel, it has definite Christian themes. I enjoyed Romanov even more than I enjoyed Fawkes, and I look forward to seeing what historical characters Nadine Brandes next chooses to feature … and what fantastical twist she will put on them.
Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
About Nadine Brandes
Nadine Brandes once spent four days as a sea cook in the name of book research. She is the author of Fawkes, Romanov, and the award-winning Out of Time Series. Her inner fangirl perks up at the mention of soul-talk, Quidditch, bookstagram, and Oreos. When she’s not busy writing novels about bold living, she’s adventuring through Middle Earth or taste-testing a new chai. Nadine, her Auror husband, and their Halfling son are building a Tiny House on wheels. Current mission: paint the world in shalom.
Find Nadine Brandes online at:
If you don’t know the story of the Romanovs, can I suggest you don’t read this book description? Just read the novel 🙂
The history books say I died.
They don’t know the half of it.
Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them, and he’s hunted Romanov before.
Nastya’s only chances of saving herself and her family are either to release the spell and deal with the consequences, or to enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya has only dabbled in magic, but it doesn’t frighten her half as much as her growing attraction to Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her.
That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.