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Polish my boots and shine my buckle. Another wonderful moment occurs when the deposed czar tries to take a ride on his bicycle and discovers that even such an innocent desire has been rendered dangerous and absurd by the new forces in control. Petersburg, bilking women of their jewels in return for messages from their departed. The bigger lion that she tames is history itself, a beast that devours the Romanovs without compunction. About Us. Brand Publishing.

I have ancestors that lived the life written about in so many Russian Novels and history books. I have always been intrigued by the Romanovs and their stories. Enchantments gave me another point of Kathryn Harrison. Petersburg, 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 family.


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Enchantments is all about stories. The kinds of stories a government tells, the stories that make up your past, the stories you tell yourself in order to go on and the stories that make up popular opinion they are all here. In time Masha and Alexei even make up stories about how they will escape to Chicago and marry. It will be their happy ending. That Harrison has chosen Masha as her conduit is interesting in that it creates a different perspective on the Romanovs compared to the many, many other novels about them.

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Intellectually Masha is a compelling character. Even the inclusion of —surprise—sexual games and denials does not add any passion to this novel. Enchantments is imaginative, filled with intriguing historical detail and the wonderful writing you expect from Kathryn Harrison but it never takes off.

Maybe all those stories defeat the inherent drama of Romanov, Rasputin and Revolution? Mar 12, Lydia Presley rated it liked it Shelves: fiction , historic-fiction , I desperately wanted to love this book. The cover, the Romanov's, the tragedy of Russia during this time period - it should all add up to be heart-wrenchingly beautiful..

There's no doubt that Kathryn Harrison is a writer who commands attention - she had to have been otherwise I think I may have put the book down about halfway through. Instead, I persevered, muddling my way through fragments of stories until I reached the end. I think what it boiled down to was th I desperately wanted to love this book. I understand what Harrison was attempting to do, and give her high marks for taking on such a complicated subject, but I felt as if I was being stretched back and forth repeatedly while reading Enchantments until I was just wrung tight, worn out, and exhausted by merely reading the book.

I've read another book about Rasputin's daughter, one by Robert Alexander, and the story was completely different - so I appreciated the perspective put forth in this book did you know Rasputin's daughter joined a circus? I had no idea! I think if you are a fan of Russian history, and have a love for stories about the Romanov's, this is a book that will interest you - but I recommend it with a warning: just be prepared to feel like a bit of a patchwork quilt has been read. View 1 comment. Feb 27, Misty Baker rated it liked it. I love learning new things. I watched movies about t I love learning new things.

I watched movies about them, I scoured every National Geographic I could find, and pretty much made the local library my bitch. But…with all of my note taking, and obsessive compulsive Wikipedia-ing I never really paid attention to Rasputin. Oh, he was there, lurking in the background like a disease, but my attention was required elsewhere so off it went. Until now. Damn you…you kooky bastard. But instead of getting Masha with a little Alyosha foreplay, I got a Russian history lesson. A very intriguing Russian history lesson cleverly disguised as fiction.

Time and time again I found myself challenging the author, and time and time again… I was proven wrong. I had to know the truth! Even if it involved someone being eaten by a bear. How OTMA sewed jewels into their frillies just in case they were forced to move in the middle of the night.

Now yes…there were a FEW parts that were fiction. Who knew Hemophilia was a death sentence! It was genuinely unique.

Enchantments by Kathryn Harrison – review

And at the end of the day it was sad. Imagine living with that hanging over your shoulder…. Alyosha certainly did. Overall…good book. Detailed almost to the point of annoyingness, but good all the same.

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This is one for bio junkies and history buffs. No one else need apply. Dec 06, Audra Unabridged Chick rated it really liked it Shelves: historicals , secret-identities , teenage-heroine-but-not-ya , heroine-amazing , historical-figure-fictionalized , place-russia , era-earlyth-century , mood-bittersweet , mood-dark-and-twisted , skeletons-in-the-closet. While I was in college, I got to see the Nicholas and Alexandra Exhibition in Wilmington, DE that included, among other things, lots of jewels, a wealth of photos, and the blood-stained and bullet-riddled wall where the royal family was executed.

It was a sight I wasn't prepared for, and made for me the tragedy of the Romanovs uncomfortably real. Since then, I've been taken with fiction about that doomed family, in search of a novel that balances the silly excess of the Romanovs with a humane te While I was in college, I got to see the Nicholas and Alexandra Exhibition in Wilmington, DE that included, among other things, lots of jewels, a wealth of photos, and the blood-stained and bullet-riddled wall where the royal family was executed.

Since then, I've been taken with fiction about that doomed family, in search of a novel that balances the silly excess of the Romanovs with a humane telling of their sad last days. I got that in spades with this novel, as well as a unique portrait of a historical figure I'd no knowledge about: Rasputin's daughter. Maria Rasputina, called Masha in this novel, is taken in by the Romanovs after her father's murder.

Enchantments: A Novel Of Rasputin's Daughter And The Romanovs

The Tsarina Alexandra, convinced that Rasputin's healing abilities have passed on to her, brings Masha to Tsarskoe Selo, the royal palace -- a Russian Versailles, essentially -- so that Masha can heal Tsarevich Alexei called Aloysha in this novel. Masha, a teenager with a spotty education from a girl's school in St. Petersburg who loves her father but finds court life baffling, immediately connects with the young tsarevich and becomes his confidante and friend. She enchants the hemophiliac prince, Aloysha, with her stories of life beyond the Tsar's compound, a world he can't see for risk of injuring himself.

But Masha enchanted me as well, not just with her stories but for her account of the Romanovs. Harrison made horrifically real for me the pain that comes with hemophilia; Masha's eyewitness accounts of Aloysha's agony had my heart pounding with pity and fear. Harrison's writing is just stunning: pretty and poetic without being ornate or obscure, providing context and setting without making me feel like I was at the beginning of a lecture. And I say this as someone who loves really academic-y histfic. The chilly lead up to the Romanov's end had me on the edge of my seat -- the scene with the former Tsar methodically chopping down his beloved poplars was weirdly frightening, given how banal the action was -- and Harrison gives her teenaged narrator a realistic mix of cynicism and innocence.

A girl with Rasputin as a father knows more about the world than she should, and yet Masha waits with uneasy uncertainty about her future. The story doesn't end with the Romanovs, but I don't want to say more -- I was unfamiliar with the lives of Rasputin's daughters so a great deal of the pleasure of this novel came from learning about them through Harrison.

This is a story of a young girl who lives a thousand lives in one lifetime, shaped by a father who was brilliant, mad, pious, dissolute, and charismatic. At the end, I felt like I knew Masha, and closing the book, I missed her voice already. View all 3 comments.

‎Enchantments: A novel of Rasputin's daughter and the Romanovs (Unabridged) Apple Booksissa

Jan 28, Helena rated it it was ok. It took me six months to finish this book. I just didn't see a point and it wasn't even interesting to read. Mar 26, Marg rated it it was ok. I have a number of historical eras that I seem to be drawn to when it comes to books. Among those are books set in the medieval era, World War I and II, and books set in Russia, especially those featuring the Romanov family.

It was therefore no surprise that I was interested in this book when I first heard of it. The main character of this book is Masha Rasputina, daughter of the infamous 'Mad Monk' Grigori Rasputin, which is an interesting choice of narrator that I have only seen used one other I have a number of historical eras that I seem to be drawn to when it comes to books.

The main character of this book is Masha Rasputina, daughter of the infamous 'Mad Monk' Grigori Rasputin, which is an interesting choice of narrator that I have only seen used one other time in Robert Alexander's book Rasputin's Daughter. This book hinges on the premise that Rasputin organised for his daughters, Masha and Varya, to be made wards of the Romanov family after his death.

The book opens with the story of his death, although it is revisited several times through the book, and so the two girls are taken to live with the Tsar and Tsarina, their four daughters collectively known as OTMA - Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia and their son, Alexei, or Alyosha as he is known.

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It is a difficult time to be associated with the Romanovs though. The revolution is underway, and they are in the process of being removed from the throne. Masha and Varya are basically kept prisoner with the family and it is in this restricted environment that a strong relationship develops between Masha and Alyosha, despite the fact that he is 14 years old and she is View all 6 comments. May 08, Natasa rated it liked it Shelves: owned-books , romanovs.

If you are intrigued with the Romanov story, this is one more depiction of their tragic end, even adding unknown facts to their already well-documented tale. From the first page be prepared to wander amongst lengthy details, repetitious facts and varying stories that often get in the way of the real plot. Apr 01, AliceinWonderland rated it did not like it. It felt like the best parts of the book were told in flashback. The only parts I really liked were the history of Rasputin before he died, his life, etc But none of these were supposed to be the main part of the story!


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  • The characters were weak, I didn't like Masha's character or had any sense of who she was. I didn't believe she and Aloysha would instantly become best friends and found their "stories" more annoying and not crucial to the plot; more as a distraction than anything else. Why is that relevant? Also, the bit about finding his "diary" I'm not sure if this was true or made up I'm not a historian , but I found it a bit contrived. I felt the horror of it as a reader and what they had to go through.