With the country they once ruled turned against them, the future of Russia's imperial family hangs in the balance. When middle daughter Maria Romanova captivates two of the guards, it will lead to a fateful choice between right and wrong.
Fifty-five years later . . .
Val rushes to her father's side when she hears of his troubling end-of-life confession: 'I didn't want to kill her.' As she unravels the secrets behind her mother's disappearance when she was twelve years old, she finds herself caught up in one of the world's greatest mysteries.
Gill Paul is one of my favourite writers. Her books sweep you off your feet and transport you to a time in history you are glad you didn't have lived through.
This is the second book where the subject is one of the lost daughters of the Russian Royal Family who were executed in 1918. I have always been fascinated by the story that one of the daughters, Anastacia may have escaped, many women have claimed to be her , a film was made, but none have been proven.
In her last book, The Secret Wife, Gill Paul wrote about Titania and what if she had escaped, what happened to her?
In this book she explores the question what if Maria escaped? She was a very friendly girl especially with the guards and a few of them liked her very much.
These two books although fiction are not without the realms of possibility. As we know how difficult it was for the guards to think about killing the young woman and children they had grown fond of .
It is said that the remains of the bodies of the royal family were covered in acid so nothing was left. The only body identified was that of Tsar Nicholas 11.
I believe that if any of the family had survived they would have stayed in hiding as they would surely have been made to disappear if discovered by the authorities.
This story tugged at my heartstrings. I never realised how much the Russian people suffered during the rule of Stalin. Neighbours telling tales on each other and children being forced to spy on their parents. Countless arrests were made in the middle of the night and no one felt safe in bed.
The Second World War brought more hardship and thousands of people died. Maria had such a hard life especially after the privileged life she led before. I admired everything about her.
This part of the story was quite a tense and harrowing read. Danger was around every corner and people became insular as no one could be trusted.
The second part of the story is set in Australia in the 1970’s. Val’s boorish Russian father dies leaving behind stories untold, especially about what happened to Val’s Chinese mother all those years ago. Val has to handle her brutal husband first before she can get to her father's possessions. The law and her husband’s old friend’s network is against her but Val gets strength from her young daughter, friends and the thought of maybe finding her own mother again.
This book is just brilliant. It provoked every emotion in me and kept me glued until the end...and what an ending !
At the end of the book is a historical afterward by Gill Paul. I really appreciated this as I was uninterested in history at school probably down to the way it was taught. Gill makes it all so interesting. I know her stories are fiction built around true events but there's always a part of me that thinks….this just might be true!
Out in paperback and kindle is only 99p
( sorry blogger won't do links)