Every little girl or woman for that matter has wished they were a princess or living a fairy-tale life with their husband, the a king or future king. We'd trade spots with born-royalty any day, but sometimes their title is more than one can bear and it becomes the end of them. The fall of the Romanov Empire and the death of the last Tsar of Russia will forever be embedded in the minds and the hearts of anyone who hears the tragic end to a fairy-tale world. Since 1613, the Romanov family had ruled Russia and guided by a stern hand as the only government. A kind, gentle man was unfortunate enough to be the Tsar during the first World War and the last Tsar to ever rule before the Bolsheviks murdered he and his family just for who they were. That is all common knowledge to anyone who enjoys history or has listened to the ill-fated family's tale. But never has the family's story been told in their words, personal photographs, and combined with facts as with this book. This opened another place and another time to a Russia long gone.
Everyone knows the basic story. Nicholas II was the last Tsar before the Bolsheviks overthrew his government and slaughtered his family. But this story is more indepth then you could have ever imagined. History comes to life. This book starts off with the introduction between Princess Alix of Hesse and the heir to the Russia thrown Nicholas Romanov II. The standoffish, German princess was not well-accepted by the Romanov family as their possible future empress, but Nicholas was determined to make Alix his wife. It would be years before Nicholas finally proposed to Alix and another night before she accepted. The family didn't like her to begin with and the Russia people were introduced to her by the death of Alexander, Nicholas' father and current Tsar. The wedding between Nicholas and Alix took place not long after the former Tsar's death. Alix changed her name to Alexandra as she accepted her new husband's religion as her own and declared of her wedding "Our marriage seemed to me a mere contiuation of the masses for the dead with this difference, that now I wear white dress instead of a black." But they were married and Nicholas ascended to his throne with Alexandra as his empress.
They chose the Alexander Palace as their primary home among the choices of palaces after a short stay with his mother and that proved to be unpleasant as Alexandra and her mother-in-law quickly started feuding. The first child was born, a girl with a large head, and named Olga, the first of the four Grand Duchesses to be born. She was followed by Tatiana, Marie, and Anastasia. A hemophiliac heir named Alexei would be born last of the Romanov children and his childhood would be plagued by his illness, but kept from the Russia people of their future Tsar's disease. The family was however happy with their summer cruises and their secluded life that kept their family close. The girls were largely unaware of their mother's unpopularity and their father's trouble keeping the government running. Even the presence of Rasputin didn't disrupt the happiness of their world the empress and the Tsar kept their children in until he was forced to give up his throne and they had to escape together to stay alive from the revolutionists. Their life would dramatically change as they were guarded in captivity and then murdered in the cellar of their safehouse.
Kurth really adds personal effects to this story with entries from their letters and diaries, their own candid photos, today photos to compare their photos to, and then combine that all with the facts. Alexandra wanted to be the beloved empress of Russia, but her son's health and dislike of the public eye gave her a horrible reputation to the Russia people. Nicholas was never a strong personality with leadership qualities and was more of a soft spoken and gentle man then leader of one of the most powerful armies of the times. The girls weren't even recognized from each other most of the time and Alexei was kept hidden because of his sickness. There is no doubt reading this that these were good people that loved each other and the people of Russia, but it is clear that they were not up for the task of fighting the revolution and their fate to go down in history. This is above the best book I've ever read of the Imperial family and this is the most personal view of what really happened a long, long time ago in another Russia.
Title: Tsar - The Lost World of Nicholas & Alexandra