New Year's Day, St. Petersburg, 1917. Divers pull the body of Rasputin, the Mad Monk, from the icy waters of the Neva River. Within hours, his daughters are taken to the Royal Palace, where the Tsarina makes a shocking request: would Masha, 18, take on her father's role as healer to the Tsarevitch Alyosha? Two months later, revolution has toppled the Tsar, and the entire family is placed under house-arrest. Trapped together in harsh conditions, Masha and Alyosha find solace in one another's company. Two teenagers, with radically different experiences of the Romanov's ill-fated reign, create a private realm of magic and love, as Masha introduces Alyosha to the wild and beautiful land he will never rule.
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOKFrom Kathryn Harrison, one of America's most admired literary voices, comes a gorgeously written, enthralling novel set in the final days of Russia's Romanov Empire. St. Petersburg, 1917. After Rasputin's body is pulled from the icy waters of the Neva River, his eighteen-year-old daughter, Masha, is sent to live at the imperial palace with Tsar Nikolay and his familyincluding the headstrong Prince Alyosha. Desperately hoping that Masha has inherited Rasputin's miraculous healing powers, Tsarina Alexandra asks her to tend to Aloysha, who suffers from hemophilia, a blood disease that keeps the boy confined to his sickbed, lest a simple scrape or bump prove fatal. Two months after Masha arrives at the palace, the tsar is forced to abdicate, and Bolsheviks place the royal family under house arrest. As Russia descends into civil war, Masha and Alyosha grieve the loss of their former lives, finding solace in each other's company. To escape the confinement of the palace, they tell storiessome embellished and some entirely imaginedabout Nikolay and Alexandra's courtship, Rasputin's many exploits, and the wild and wonderful country on the brink of an irrevocable transformation. In the worlds of their imagination, the weak become strong, legend becomes fact, and a future that will never come to pass feels close at hand. Mesmerizing, haunting, and told in Kathryn Harrison's signature crystalline prose, Enchantments is a love story about two people who come together as everything around them is falling apart.From the Hardcover edition.