Top positive review
Interesting, Very Interesting
Reviewed in the United States on January 21, 2018
The novel The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming portrays the events in life of the final Russian Tsar in perfect detail. It shows the internal struggle between royal family and people they ruled. The change in Tsar Nicholas is shown in the finest detail as he is propelled through the First World War and the October Revolution. This change is shown in his daily diary entries where you read that he struggles with his own insecurities and indecision along with his lack of faith in himself. He struggles with communicating with the common folk and their struggles passed unbeknownst to him as shown in the quote,”In 1903—the same year as Nicholas’s costume ball—four out of every five Russians were peasants. And yet the upper classes knew next to nothing about them. They didn’t visit the peasants’ villages or deal with the hired laborers who worked their estates. Instead, they remained comfortably ensconced in luxurious St. Petersburg. From there it was easy to romanticize the peasants’ life. Most nobility (Nicholas and Alexandra included) envisioned peasants living in simple yet cozy huts, their ‘cheeks glowing with good health’ and their teeth ‘whiter than the purest ivory,’ gushed one Russian writer… Nothing was further from the truth. Most peasants had never slept in a proper bed, owned a pair of leather shoes, eaten off a china plate, or been examined by a doctor. Most had never been beyond the borders of their villages.”(Fleming 5.) You meet Nicholas’s regal wife who,”in private with her husband was warm and affectionate… At public ceremony however she became a ‘different individual.’ Because she felt awkward and ill at ease,”(Fleming 30.) As for the common people their story is told through retold first person accounts of the struggles they faced at the time called Beyond The Palace Walls where their struggle during those times is shown to you in vivid detail. It talks about their struggles for food and how they are barely able to survive while Nicholas lives his grandiose lifestyle in his palace.
In my personal opinion this novel is an excellent read and probably one of the best nonfiction novels I have ever read. It captures the imagination with its vivid use of detail and evokes from you a sense of pity for both the Royal Family and the peasants they ruled during the times of the Great War and the Revolution. You pity Nicholas for the choices he had to make in order to protect his family and his country until the very end, but it also brings about a sense of hate for the people who bring about his end and the pain they cause the Royals. I would definitely recommend this to a friend simply because it is facts about the First World War and if they already know everything about that then this novel provides a deeper insight into the lives of Russia’s Final Royal Family.