The four daughters of the last Tsar of Russia, overlooked in life and in death, the young women, the eldest only twenty-three were gunned down with their parents at Ekaterinburg in 1918. Helen Rappaport uncovers their lives as children at court and as young women in captivity, a poignant story, made all the more moving by our knowing their fate.
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On 17 July 1918, four young women walked down twenty-three steps into the cellar of a house in Ekaterinburg. The eldest was twenty-two, the youngest only seventeen. Together with their parents and their thirteen-year-old brother, they were all brutally murdered. Their crime: to be the daughters of the last Tsar and Tsaritsa of All the Russias. In Four Sisters acclaimed biographer Helen Rappaport offers readers the most authoritative account yet of the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia. Drawing on their own letters and diaries, she paints a vivid picture of their lives in the dying days of the Romanov dynasty. We see, almost for the first time, their journey from a childhood of enormous privilege, throughout which they led a very sheltered and largely simple life, to young womanhood - their first romantic crushes, their hopes and dreams, the difficulty of coping with a mother who was a chronic invalid and a haeomophiliac brother, and, latterly, the trauma of the revolution and its terrible consequences. Compellingly readable, meticulously researched and deeply moving, Four Sisters gives these young women a voice, and allows their story to resonate for readers almost a century after their death.
The last days of the Romanovs have been documented many times, but relatively little focus has been placed solely on the characters of Nicholas and Alexandra’s four daughters. Helen Rappaport puts that right by portraying Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia in human terms, showing them to have been likeable girls who grew up and were reaching maturity in a loving family – and who regarded Rasputin not as a ‘mad monk’ but as a saviour. The diaries and journals of the girls and courtiers are reference points that make this a thoroughly readable book about charitable and industrious sisters whose potential was snuffed out so brutally.
'Rappaport is insightful in her analysis of Alexandra's vulnerability [and] illuminates the precise influence of Grigori Rasputin ... An astoundingly intimate tale of domestic life lived in the crucible of power.' Observer
'[Rappaport] brings to Four Sisters an encyclopedic knowledge of the minutiae of Nicholas and Alexandra's family life ... Four Sisters is a study in unity. It demonstrates resoundingly the strength of family ties.' The Telegraph
'A well-written gem ... a fascinating, in-depth and comprehensively researched study of the imperial daughters.' Daily Express
'Evocative and beautifully researched and told, this is narrative history at its best.' Bookseller
'Poignant [and] well written ... Rappaport's sensitive portrayal of the doomed sisters draws the reader into an attachment to each one.' Mail on Sunday
Publication date: 29/01/2015
Publisher: Macmillan an imprint of Pan Macmillan
|Publication date:||29th January 2015|
|Publisher:||Macmillan an imprint of Pan Macmillan|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography, History,|
|Categories:||Biography: historical, political & military, European history, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000,|
Helen Rappaport is a historian with a specialism in the nineteenth century. She is the author of eleven published books, including Ekaterinburg: The Last Days of the Romanovs and Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert and the Death that Changed the Monarchy. She is also the author, with Roger Watson, of Capturing the Light. For more information, you can visit her website at www.helenrappaport.com. Author photo © John Kerrison PhotographyMore About Helen Rappaport