Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Young Adult, History
I knew that this was a work of fiction, but this feels like a real thing. The way the author portrays each and every one of the OTMA sisters seems to be a perfect interpretation. But, I must say that it was not easy for the first few chapters. Even though each chapters were told individually by each of the OTMA sisters, somehow you don’t get the image that there were four different people telling the stories; this change after they entered house arrest in Tobolsk. Along to way, you can see that Olga loses her spirit and became more apathetic as the story progress, then there was Tatiana who more than ever felt like the balance of her family lies with her and she was wrecked with fear that she can’t do anything about it, then the ever so lovable Maria who is such a simpleton but you can’t help but root for her and wished that she could have come out alive from those ordeals, and Anastasia who grew up and had become wise beyond her years. I would like to think that it was the author’s intention to let these girls develop later on during their house arrest, showing that as they are cut off more and more from the outside world, they develop their own sense of position and characters, and being more than just a Grand Duchesses.
No one living to this day will ever know for sure about what the real feelings that these girls felt during the last moment of their lives, but reading this book gave a little bit glimpse of it and there were more than one time where I wished these were true, but one can only hope. The part where Alexei gave the last remaining candy to Maria really broke my heart. The feeling of overflowing love from Maria was channeled very well and you can’t help but really wished that these two could survive. This kind of thought does surprise me very well, all along I have always been rooting for Olga, for I always think she was the perceptive one, but seeing Alexei and Maria in the book, you sort of wish these two could come out alive. But, again, the last chapter of the book, told from Olga’s perspective as she realise that they were all going to be executed and she said “where we go next, we go together”, I am glad that no survivor came out of that execution. Imagine the guilt and the pain to be the only survivor and knowing that your family was brutally murdered like that and you can’t do anything to help nor gave a proper burial for them, for fear of your safety; it might for the best that they all went together.
This has been a very nice experience for me; reading two books about the Imperial Family this year, and now I get to read a work of fiction without so much as changing anything to the actual events while actually giving a breath of life to the story was definitely something that I am happy for.