Romanov, Nadine Brandes


Yes. With all of my broken Romanov heart

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them . . . and he’s hunted Romanov before.

* *
2 / 5

I’m not particularly familiar with Russian history, but I am a sucker for magical realism and I enjoyed Brandes’ other book, Fawkes, so I decided to give Romanov a shot. The spells and magic aspect of the book is awesome, but the story itself was so incredibly slow. Perhaps this was my fault, not knowing that Anastasia Romanov spent most of her life under lock and key in a house, but I do feel like the book needed a much faster pace.

Spells from the old artists of Russia were now forbidden. I liked forbidden things

I haven’t seen Anastasia and I’m not particularly familiar with Russian history, but I decided to give Romanov a shot. I love magical realism and the spells bit of this was awesome, but the story itself was incredibly slow (which I suppose I would have known if I knew anything about the Romanovs!), The Romanov family was the ruling dynasty in Russia, until Tsar Nicholas II abdicated under pressure from the Bolsheviks. The family is separated and placed under house arrest.

The main character is Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov, a young woman who idolises her father and loves her younger brother, Alexei, who is in ill health and has haemophilia. They’re stressed, anxious, and wondering if they’re all about to die. It’s a pretty dark storyline, but to be honest it bored me. There was only so much worrying that I could put up with without anything more exciting happening that Nastya’s sister flirting with some guard.

Romanov will probably be of much more interest for someone familiar with Russian history. I’m not entirely sure how factual it was, but even the addition of magic and some bad romance couldn’t make the book more exciting for me.

My thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for an ARC of Romanov

One thought on “Romanov, Nadine Brandes

  1. Konstantin Dobrev

    As someone with reasonably good knowledge of Russian history, even this short review does not leave me with a good impression. If the author can’t even get the name of the main character right (it’s Anastasia Romanova), it’s hardly likely that there’s been much, if any, interest in historical accuracy.


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