Welcome to my stop on the FFBC Blog Tour for Romanov by Nadine Brandes! I am so ridiculously excited to share my thoughts with you today, as well as a giveaway- because I loved this book and can’t wait for you to fall in love with it too! 
Romanov by Nadine Brandes
Published by Thomas Nelson on May 7, 2019
Pages: 352
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review

The history books say I died.

They don’t know the half of it.

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them . . . and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of survival are to either release the spell, and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya’s never dabbled in magic before, but it doesn’t frighten her as much as her growing attraction for Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her . . .

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.

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Finally, finally the Anastasia book of my heart! I have been searching for this book for what seems like eons. Some have been closer to what I had hoped for, some were really off the mark, but I never found the diamond in the rough. Until now. And the best way to explain both what I have been looking for and what Romanov contains that makes it so special is just to list the stuff I have been yearning for- and in some cases, didn’t even know how badly I needed until now!

  • Historical accuracy. I think this is my problem with most Anastasia stories, honestly. For the sake of not spoiling stuff, I am going to keep this brief, but the author did her homework, guys. (And if this section is something really important for your enjoyment of the book, I am going to put this not-quite spoiler but sort of if you are like me and hate anything resembling a spoiler in tags.) View Spoiler » Obviously, there is some creative license used, because this is fiction after all, but it’s done very, very well. History, Exhibit A. It’s beyond gorgeous, especially in person, but positively haunting. So you can understand why it’s important to care about protecting certain fundamental authenticity. This is a family, a real family, who died only 101 years ago. Which brings me to my next point…
  • These are real people, and this book makes them feel as such. I imagine it’s quite hard to undertake a task such as doing their stories justice. The author genuinely seems to care about them as people, not just as characters, and it shows. I’ve always held a soft spot for the family because they seem so… normal. How different were they really, than your family or mine? And this novel presents them as such complete human beings that it made my heart swell. They’re not perfect by any means, they have flaws, but they’ve got good hearts and always, always try to do the right thing. And some of them have a faith in the goodness of mankind that simply blew me away.
  • The story the author wove is phenomenal! So we all know the broader story, but that creative license I mentioned before? It’s awesome. Because the author uses it to expand on the larger-scale story to tell a tale that is many things at once. A tale that will make you feel so many things. There’s family, of course. So much family, and a focus on all the smaller relationship units within the larger family. There’s friendship, romance, betrayal, politics, and I could go on and on. This could be a sad tale about a girl who is betrayed by the Bolshevik soldier she grew to care for. But it isn’t. It’s infinitely more.
  • There is a fantasy element that really worked for me. This is important, because it was the only reason I was hesitant to pick up the book in the first place. But I needn’t have worried, because I found the use of the fantastical a really clever way to make the story cohesive.

Bottom Line: At its core, Romanov is at once profoundly sad yet unflinchingly hopeful. And it’s this complex dichotomy that makes it such a compelling book. If you like historical fiction, this is one you cannot miss. 

About Nadine Brandes

Nadine once spent four days as a sea cook in the name of book research. She's the author of FAWKES and of the award-winning The Out of Time Series. Her inner fangirl perks up at the mention of soul-talk, Quidditch, bookstagram, and Oreos. When she's not busy writing novels about bold living, she's adventuring through Middle Earth or taste-testing a new chai. Nadine and her Auror husband are building a Tiny House on wheels. Current mission: paint the world in shalom.

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Do you like historical fiction? Retellings? Does the Romanov Family story pull at your heartstrings? Let’s chat! 

Posted May 11, 2019 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Blog Tour, Giveaway, Review / 12 Comments


12 responses to “Romanov by Nadine Brandes: Review & Giveaway

  1. I haven’t read a HistFic in a loooong while. Is it bad that I have no idea who this family is? I was never a fan of history so I really have no idea, but I’m genuinely intrigued! I’m glad that the author did it in such a way that it shows she cares for these characters plus the people she’s telling the story about. It’s amazing how you didn’t say one single thing to spoil the story, not even a smidge, so kudos on that, but now it makes me want to read it more ?
    Genesis @ Whispering Chapters

  2. C.W

    I’m glad that you thought the fantasy element worked. That’s the thing I’ve been worried about. I’m really looking forward to this book, I love historical fiction!

  3. Kel

    I am very interested in this! I loved the Anastasia movie and the Anastasia Royal Diaries book as a kid, but I’m with you; I’ve been burned by other “Anastasia-inspired” books. Looking forward to giving this a try, though!

  4. I’m so glad you found your perfect retelling! I’ve been hearing such good things about this book, that combined with its beautiful cover, it’s almost enough to push my out of my comfort zone to try a more historically based book!

  5. Sounds like a wonderful retelling. Anastasia’s story has always been intriguing. Beautiful cover and love the idea of a spell. Thanks Shannon! ❤️❤️

  6. Oh, I had no idea I needed this book in my life until now. I loved the animated version of Anastasia, but that’s about where my knowledge of the subject ends. I didn’t know if I cared enough to read a more “real” account, but it sounds like I definitely should!!

  7. This one didn’t work for me (I’m not a huge fan of straight historical fiction and didn’t realize the fantasy didn’t play a bigger role), but I’m so glad you loved it! I was so impressed by Nadine Brandes’ research and the way she wrote the family bonds. It was lovely.

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