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The Lost Crown (2011)

de Sarah Miller

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19512106,865 (3.74)1
In alternating chapters, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia tell how their privileged lives as the daughters of the tsar in early twentieth-century Russia are transformed by world war and revolution.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 12 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
I love history...and the Russian Romanovs have always intrigued me,however most usually the children and their personalities are glossed over. Or they are talked about as a group.
OTMA is how the girls were referred to, but those 4 were deeply affected by their upbringing, surrounding and their parents woes. Naive and sensitive, intelligent but lacking in social skills, their growth was stunted in comparison to others in their age group.
Tho this book THE LOST CROWN is fiction it IS based on letters and diaries ,so the girls ( mostly - tho Alex is included) become PEOPLE not merely names. Heartbreaking in that the reader knows what the ending holds and yet, for some reason, hope remains. The time span covers the interim period of life in the palace and their deaths in captivity.
But they were loving young ladies who deserved much more than bullets and bayonets in the basement. ( )
  linda.marsheells | Feb 8, 2017 |
I rate this a solid five stars. The people and places were vividly conveyed, and the tone was pitch perfect. During the abdication crisis, I felt the tension mounting in the Alexander Palace. Later, as circumstances in captivity declined, I could feel the helplessness and growing despair.
I also appreciated that the narration alternated between the sisters. It gave me a chance to see them as individuals and not just OTMA (By the way, my favorite was Olga). Of course that did make the end even more heartbreaking...

I wish all historic fiction could be written this well. ( )
  ang709 | May 20, 2016 |
Once upon a time, Russia was ruled by royalty. Like all monarchies, the czar’s word was law, and - like the world over regardless of government type – there were good czars and poor czars. All of them were subject to the problems of their times. Between a world war, a crippling economy, and a growing workers movement, the last czar faced very unique pressures that none of his predecessors had to face. In The Lost Crown, Sarah Miller explores the impact these forces had, not on the czar but on his family. As they struggle to understand how they can go from being a beloved national treasure to enforced imprisonment by the same people, so too do the readers as they get a glimpse of what life was like in those final months before the Russian crown was forever lost.

As with any novel utilizing multiple narrators, keeping track of which Grand Duchess is speaking in each scene can prove to be very challenging. There were many a time when the story required flipping to the beginning of the chapter to see which narrator was telling the story. Even though there are differences between each narrator’s voice, the differences are slight when taken as a whole and do not offset the similarities among them, of which there are many.

Similarly, Ms. Miller uses the multiple viewpoints in an attempt to present a broader picture of what was occurring in Russia and what was happening to the family. Unfortunately, because the family stayed together, either by choice or by being forced into close quarters, the viewpoints of the girls does not vary all that much. The older daughters have a better grasp on the seriousness of their situation, but other than that, all four are limited in their understanding of the revolution and its total impact on not only Russia but on their family as well. In fact, much of the time, the girls are in a state of disbelief that there is a noticeable decrease in the reverence towards the Czar and his family. Because there is so little difference of opinion or of understanding among the four girls, the use of four narrators does nothing but overcomplicates the story and bogs down the overall narrative.

While Ms. Miller does not gloss over the hardships the family faced as the revolution swept across Russia, the complex politics and economics behind the revolution are all but ignored. This lack of backdrop provides some surprising consequences. On the one hand, the lack of background information serves to highlight how sheltered the girls were from the outside world. Yet, without this crucial macro-level information, key elements of the revolution become nothing but a young girl’s rant at the unfairness of the world. Granted, from the girls’ perspective, their rough treatment, their subsequent imprisonment, and ultimate fate are unfair, but there is always another side of the equation and to avoid discussing this with younger readers diminishes the importance of what happened and its future consequences for the world at large.

The Lost Crown is definitely meant for younger audiences. While the rest of the world concerns itself with a world war, food shortages, economic hardships, and the like, the Romanov children worry about keeping their brother safe, boys, clothes, and their familial happiness. Theirs is a very isolated and self-centered world, and they remain blissfully ignorant – partially by choice and partially by role – of what is occurring outside the palace walls. Because they are so young, their self-centeredness is understandable because being self-absorbed is a top teen characteristic. Younger readers can and will appreciate their frolicking and obliviousness, but older readers will find their ignorance and self-absorption disconcerting, made all the more tragic by their utter confusion and shock when the outside world begins to impose its will on the family.

In The Lost Crown, Ms. Miller attempts to show the world the Russian Revolution from the Romanov perspective. By writing it for young adults and using a narrow, young, and one-sided perspective, she further romanticizes the Romanovs and their fate. There is nothing wrong with that because what happened to the entire family was terrible. Still, one cannot help but feel that an opportunity was lost to help explain the other side, why the peasants revolted as they did and how the revolt was hijacked by others to further their own socialist agenda. Historical fiction is best when one can learn something from it, and the novel fails in this regard. Between this disappointing omission and the confusion wrought by the multiple narrators, the story fails to impress older readers. Even younger readers may find the lack of romantic interest, the nebulous understanding of the circumstances, and the very unhappy ending to be a bit too much for one’s thorough enjoyment of the story. It is a disappointing reaction to a novel that looks gorgeous and has such amazing potential behind it.
  jmchshannon | Apr 20, 2013 |
This was different. Not really what I was expecting.

The story is told in the perspective of all four daughters, which could've been amazing, but the voices of the four sisters weren't really different. By time the book was almost over, I'd caught on to some subtle differences, but otherwise I had to remember the beginning of the chapter or I had to look at how it was written when people were talking to the narrator to figure out who it was. There was a lot of telling how the characters were different and not much showing. If this had been done better, the book could've been incredible.

The story itself was interesting. The events were all true, though the personalities of the characters are created as best as the author could. The story was told over a long period of time, but didn't cover every detail. At times, it could be kind of dull, but for the most part, it was fascinating to read.

I think this was also part of my own expectations. Often in these books, there's some kind of romance thrown in for our interest, even though it's not true to what happened and I'd hoped there'd be some in this book with at least one of the sisters. There was some flirting, but never any real romance.

This is an enjoyable book, but the lack of romance and the same voice for all four perspectives made it not meet my expectations. But I think if you go in expecting it, you'll enjoy it a lot more than I did.
  breakingdownslowly | Dec 31, 2011 |
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. The concept of the book being from the perspectives of all four of the daughters: Olga, Tatiana, Marie, and Anastasia was creative but ultimately the author did not manage to make the voices of the girls distinctive. I never could remember which perspective I was reading from as there was not substantial variation in how each of the girls sounded which unfortunately was the downfall of the book. The subject matter was interesting, but overall the book was unfulfilling. ( )
  Jmmott | Dec 7, 2011 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 12 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
The Lost Crown is a well-crafted and engrossing story that would make a worthwhile addition to any middle school or high school media center.
adicionado por sarahmillerbooks | editarVOYA, Amy Wyckoff (Jul 11, 2011)
 
Tsar Nicholas II’s four ill-fated daughters provide a fictional, inside look at Imperial Russia’s dying days in this thoroughly researched, poignant and compelling account of how the deposed Romanovs coped with abdication and arrest from 1914 to 1918. (STARRED)
adicionado por sarahmillerbooks | editarKirkus Reviews (May 1, 2011)
 
"This thoroughly researched novel brings the four young women to readers in their own voices... [E]ach girl is given time and space to reveal and reflect, and like the best historical novels, this allows modern-day teens to see parts of themselves in very different people....[B]y the heartbreaking book's conclusion, readers will be caught up in the girls' story."
adicionado por sarahmillerbooks | editarBooklist, Ilene Cooper (Apr 15, 2011)
 
“The author has made the Romanov family real.”
adicionado por sarahmillerbooks | editarLibrary Media Connection, Tracy A Fitzwater
 
“Meticulous research lends convincing detail to the final year of the Imperial family as the novel approaches its grim conclusion.”
adicionado por sarahmillerbooks | editarHorn Book Guide
 
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In alternating chapters, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia tell how their privileged lives as the daughters of the tsar in early twentieth-century Russia are transformed by world war and revolution.

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