Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Lost Crown by Sarah Miller

Title/Author: The Lost Crown by Sarah Miller
Publisher/Date published: Simon & Schuster, June 14th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: "Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia. Like the fingers on a hand--first headstrong Olga; then Tatiana, the tallest; Maria the most hopeful for a ring; and Anastasia, the smallest. These are the daughters of Tsar Nicholas II, grand dutchesses living a life steeped in tradition and priviledge. They are each on the brink of starting their own lives, at the mercy of royal matchmakers. The summer of 1914 is that precious last wink of time when they can still be sisters together--sisters that link arms and laugh, sisters that share their dreams and worries, and flirt with the officers of their imperial yacht.
But in a gunshot the future changes for these sisters and for Russia.
As World War I ignites across Europe, political unrest sweeps Russia. First dissent, then disorder, mutiny, and revolution. For Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, the end of their girlhood together is colliding with the end of more than they ever imagined.
At the same time hopeful and hopeless, naive and wise, the voices of these sisters become a chorus singing the final song of Imperial Russia."

I need to get this out: this book was a disappointment for me. And I was not counting on that to happen, which made it double blah for me.

I LOVE historical fiction, I love getting to know historical characters in a fictional setting (yes, I know the Other Boleyn Girl and such don't give an accurate presentation, but I love reading books like that). It makes them come alive in my mind and makes the events surrounding them easier to remember.

So, the Romanovs. I didn't know a lot about them, except for the med-geek in me who remembered the hemophilia running in the family and that they were murdered. Oh, and flashes from the Disney version of Anastasia. That was about it. Being me and wanting to be a bit knowledgeable about them before reading the book, I looked them up on Wikipedia, there's a pretty detailed page on them.

And really, I could have just left it at that. I didn't take anything away from the story that I wouldn't have found out from that Wiki page. Only in the book it took 448 pages instead of maybe 2 on Wiki.

I felt no connection whatsoever to the sisters and it didn't help that every chapter was from a different POV, switching between the four sisters. I found myself flipping back pages to see which was narrating it, cause there wasn't really that much difference in their voices. I also had a problem with the fact that there seemed to be no character development. I mean, the book spans 4 years, you'd think there'd be some growing up going on at least. I saw very little of this.

While I think the book was very well researched, the facts found in research seemed to overpower the humanity that I love so much about historical fiction. That I couldn't sympathise with a family who were murdered for no good reason (in my opinion) is not a good sign.

This book wasn't for me, I plowed through because I was hoping it'd get better, but I was very tempted to just put it down almost the whole time.
My rating: 1,5 stars (extra half star for the amazing research the author obviously did)


  1. I started this book but didn't get very far into it before putting it down. I think the huge character list and the list of all of the Russian words at the beginning of the book overwhelmed me.

  2. *nods nods*

    Excellent review.

    I started this book too - I got the egalley of it as well - but the starts with two or three pages on who is who and four or five pages of glossary, and I was like, seriously? It's like I had to read a book just to start reading this story and I sort of went... meh, I know all the Romanov story I need to know, thanks.

    And I do, I'm nut of all things Russian and all, but I couldn't get past the first chapter, having to go back to figure out what some words meant and stuff - I thought that was just the author being a show off.

    I agree on the research aspect, but it read like ALL research, not like a story.

  3. Thanks for the honest review! I'm a character girl so connecting with the characters is one of the most important things for me. I love the Romonovs but maybe this one isn't for me as I've seen several other reviewers with the same thoughts.

    RE Waterfall review comment: I'm so glad to hear that! No one's ever told me that before. I really hope you enjoy it as much as me and that I haven't hyped it up too much. I'm looking forward to seeing what you think :)