Saturday, July 22, 2017

Review: Royally Romanov

Title: Royally Romanov
Author: Teri Wilson
Publisher: 17 July 2017 by Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books.
Pages: 304 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: romance
My Rating: 4.5 cups

In this charming modern day retelling of the 1956 classic Anastasia, a museum curator falls for a mysterious man who may or may not be a long lost heir to Russia’s imperial Romanov dynasty.

Finley Abbot is organizing the most prestigious art exhibit of her career at the Louvre museum—a retrospective of art from the House of Romanov. But the sudden appearance of Maxim Romanov threatens to turn her into the biggest laughingstock of the art world. When she finds herself falling in love, she realizes there’s even more at stake than her career. How can she trust a man with her whole world when he can’t remember a thing about his past?

After suffering a violent blow to the head, Maxim’s only clue to his identity is a notebook containing carefully researched documentation in his own handwriting indicating that he is the sole surviving descendant of the Grand Duchess Anastasia, previously thought dead in the murder of her family during Russia’s Bolshevik revolution. His struggle to put the mysterious pieces of his past back together leads him to Finley. At first, she’s convinced Maxim is nothing but a con artist. But there’s something undeniably captivating about the beautiful, brooding man who claims to be searching for his identity—something Finley can’t quite bring herself to resist. When he reveals a secret about one of the imperial FabergĂ© eggs in the collection, she accepts he may actually be telling the truth. But as soon as Finley and Maxim act on their feelings for one another, Maxim is confronted with evidence that calls into question everything he’s begun to believe about himself.
My Thoughts

“Everyone’s into the Romanovs. Their story is one of history’s most famous unsolved mysteries.”

“What if there was more to the story?”

I admit to always having been fascinated by the Romanov’s, the last ruling family of Russia before the revolution. The intrigue continues over the supposed survival of Anastasia. Therefore I readily sign up for any new, fictional or otherwise, read regarding this. Knowing this is a ‘chick lit’ (after my last few heavy reads, I was in need of some ‘light and fluffy’ as I like to call it!) I was pleasantly surprised to discover this book contains so much more than romantic escapism.

In equal parts this is a romance AND, importantly,  a rewrite of the classic story, ‘Anastasia’. This is the second book in the Royally series, but the books are in no way related and this most definitely reads as a standalone. What a delightful surprise to discover that there were bonus and legitimate historical references.

‘July 17, 2018 will mark the one hundredth anniversary of the execution of the Tsar and his family ... the Century Rule was instituted here in France after so many claims were made on notable pieces.’

So on the one hand you have this simmering romance but at the same time, this engaging mystery that could possible change history! What fun! A  mysterious, exciting, romantic love story!!!! I was hooked. Add to the usual recipe of romance, an assortment of clues and it proves a fun adventure. The inclusion of things such as the famous Romanov FabergĂ© eggs, and the female lead working at the Louvre make for some credible facts.

‘The Louvre was the biggest museum in the world. The tour guides and docents were fond of telling visitors that the museum was so immense that it would take one hundred straight days to see every piece of art in the Louvre’s extensive collection. And that would leave a mere thirty seconds to look at each one.’

The tragic end to this famous Royal Family has always intrigued and produced many ensuing legends. What the author has done here is create a credible storyline of a man who may indeed be the grandson of the Archduchess Anastasia. It’s a great to journey along with Maxim and Finley as together they seek to investigate and discover the truth behind who he really is.

‘what about the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, who’d been the Tsar’s mother’

Does the combination work? I believe it does. Yes there is some humour but instead of detracting from the story it provided lighter moments:

‘...meeting a man who gave her serious Mr. Darcy vibes.’

In conclusion, Royally Romanov is a good romantic story with a most worthy and interesting twist on a classic tale - that little bit of  mystery that will engage you through to the very end.

‘She ate, drank, and slept the Romanovs twenty-four hours a day. She’d been chasing them through decades of history’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release

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