Like a Russian nesting doll, Nadine Brandes’s Romanov contains layers of unexpected meaning. Cased in history, Romanov tells the story of Anastasia Romanov, or Nastya, exiled with her family after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. With her spell master gone and magic outlawed under the Bolsheviks, Nastya can do little to ease her brother Alexei’s secret hemophilia. Complicating matters further, Nastya begins to develop an attachment for one of the soldiers imprisoning her family. When the ultimate betrayal falls upon them, Nastya must put her wits, her faith, and her heart to the test. Can she follow her father’s admonition to forgive her enemies? Or will her heart become as hard and empty as a Matryoshka doll? Wrapping history in layers of humanity and magic, Romanov brings the captivating story of Anastasia to life in a new and vivid way.
Best for: Fans of Nadine Brandes and historical fiction as well as slow-burning, character-driven stories.
Discern: Some romantic tension and rumors of adultery; multiple scenes of violence and references to assassination, execution, and murder; one character is shown drinking heavily in most of his appearances; references to Jesus, the Bible, and prayer throughout.