The Romanov Empress by C.W. Gortner
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Hardcover; 448 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Even from behind the throne, a woman can rule.
Narrated by the mother of Russia’s last tsar, this vivid, historically authentic novel brings to life the courageous story of Maria Feodorovna, one of Imperial Russia’s most compelling women, who witnessed the splendor and tragic downfall of the Romanovs as she fought to save her dynasty in the final years of its long reign.
Barely nineteen, Minnie knows that her station in life as a Danish princess is to leave her family and enter into a royal marriage—as her older sister Alix has done, moving to England to wed Queen Victoria’s eldest son. The winds of fortune bring Minnie to Russia, where she marries the Romanov heir and becomes empress once he ascends the throne. When resistance to her husband’s reign strikes at the heart of her family and the tsar sets out to crush all who oppose him, Minnie—now called Maria—must tread a perilous path of compromise in a country she has come to love.
Her husband’s death leaves their son Nicholas II as the inexperienced ruler of a deeply divided and crumbling empire. Determined to guide him to reforms that will bring Russia into the modern age, Maria faces implacable opposition from Nicholas’s strong-willed wife, Alexandra, whose fervor has lead her into a disturbing relationship with a mystic named Rasputin. As the unstoppable wave of revolution rises anew to engulf Russia, Maria will face her most dangerous challenge and her greatest heartache.
From the opulent palaces of St. Petersburg and the intrigue-laced salons of the aristocracy to the World War I battlefields and the bloodied countryside occupied by the Bolsheviks, C. W. Gortner sweeps us into the anarchic fall of an empire and the complex, bold heart of the woman who tried to save it.
My Review: A while back, I read a book about a strong woman, in a position of royalty, that had absolutely nothing to do with the Tudors…and I LOVED it. (For those of you new to my blog, I am obsessed with all things Tudor. So branching out into other women of royalty is a fairly new thing for this history nerd.) Therefore, I was so stinkin’ excited to dig into The Romanov Empress. Would she be strong? Ruthless? Submissive? Abused? Happy?
I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I had absolutely zero clue who Maria Feodorovna was. So I did a little research about her, to give myself a jumping point on her story. After that, however, I relied solely on the talents (incredible talents, I soon discovered) of C. W. Gortner to fill in the missing pieces for me. To say that I was hooked from the start is a grievous understatement. I absolutely adored this book!
C. W. Gortner fleshed Minnie out, bringing her to life for his readers and giving her personality, quirks, faults, breath, humanity. I ached for her when she hurt. I cheered for her victories. I respected the decisions she made…had to make…for her family, for Russia. Minnie, however, is not the only one that the author brought straight into my living room. There were various people that I quite enjoyed, and others that I was not fond of (here’s looking at you, Alexandra!) which is further proof of the talent of the author. I was absolutely caught up in the story, the flow of the plot, the emotions of the characters and the fate of Maria Feodorovna. Not only is the novel itself masterful, but I now have a new favorite author.
Praise for The Romanov Empress
“Gortner’s mesmerizing historical novel (following The Vatican Princess) depicts the remarkable life of the mother of the last Russian tsar. This insightful first-person account of the downfall of the Romanov rule will appeal to history buffs; at its core, it’s the powerful story of a mother trying to save her family and an aristocrat fighting to maintain rule in a country of rebellion, giving it an even broader appeal.” —Publishers Weekly
“A sweeping saga that takes us from the opulence and glamor of Tsarist Russia to the violent, tragic last days of the Romanovs. C. W. Gortner breaks new ground here, skillfully painting an intimate, compelling portrait of this fascinating empress and her family.” —Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author of America’s First Daughter
“The Romanov Empress has all the glitter and mystery of a Faberge egg, the outer decadence and beauty of Imperial Russia unfolding to reveal the mysteries and horrors within. The waning days of a doomed dynasty are recounted by the vivacious but tough Danish princess who would become one of Russia’s most revered tsarinas, only to see her line end in war and revolution. Gortner pens a beautiful tribute to a lost world, weaving a tale sumptuous as a Russian sable.” —Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network
“A vivid, engaging tale of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna, the mother of Russia’s last Tsar, her loves and her heartbreaks, bringing the troubled final decades of the Russian Empire to life.” —Eva Stachniak, author of The Winter Palace
About the Author
C. W. Gortner holds an MFA in writing, with an emphasis on historical studies, from the New College of California. He is the internationally acclaimed and bestselling author of Mademoiselle Chanel, The Queen’s Vow, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici, The Last Queen, The Vatican Princess, and Marlene, among other books. He divides his time between Northern California and Antigua, Guatemala.
Blog Tour Schedule
Wednesday, July 11
Review at Just One More Chapter
Thursday, July 12
Review at A Bookish Affair
Friday, July 13
Feature at Bookfever
Monday, July 16
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Tuesday, July 17
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Thursday, July 19
Review at The Lit Bitch
Friday, July 20
Review at Bri’s Book Nook
Monday, July 23
Review at Books and Glamour
Tuesday, July 24
Review at Dressed to Read
Wednesday, July 25
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Thursday, July 26
Review at Donna’s Book Blog
Friday, July 27
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Monday, July 30
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Tuesday, July 31
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, August 1
Feature at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, August 2
Review at Curling Up By the Fire
Friday, August 3
Review at Broken Teepee
Monday, August 6
Review at A Book Geek
Tuesday, August 7
Review at What Cathy Read Next
Thursday, August 9
Review at Caryn, the Book Whisperer
Friday, August 10
Review at Two Gals and a Book
During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a copy of The Romanov Empress to one lucky reader! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on August 10th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
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– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.