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Rasputin's Daughter    by Robert Alexander order for
Rasputin's Daughter
by Robert Alexander
Order:  USA  Can
Penguin, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

This is a fascinating tale, quite different from the usual way the story of Imperial Russia's Nicholas and Alexandra and their relationship with the enigmatic Rasputin is told. Rasputin's daughter Maria (a very real person who died in Hollywood, California, in 1977) tells us her version of her father's last days. Through Maria, we get to see a more intimate view of this strange but powerful man. His hold on the royal family comes quite clear through her descriptions of his ability to calm the young tsarevich and work at least a temporary relief in his suffering.

The story really revolves around the fact that a certain group of nobles has decided to kill Rasputin. Maria gets wind of the danger to her father and tries to be of help while at the same time coming to grips with his crude behaviors. The author adds only one imaginary character to the group of nobles, a pivotal one to Maria. With this, we get a fresh take on the days and months leading up to and following that infamous event. We also learn how it could have taken on such a mythic retelling as it did.

Lovers of historical fiction will want to add Rasputin's Daughter to their library of favorites. It is an easy read, it rings true, and it is powerful fiction.

2nd Review by Mary Ann Smyth:

Robert Alexander, author of The Kitchen Boy, presents Rasputin's Daughter, a fascinating narrative by Maria Rasputin of the final days of her father's life. Grigori Rasputin, infamous healer of the Romanov court, was held in awe by Tsar Nicholas and Tsarina Alexandra for his hands-on healing of their son and heir, Aleksei, who suffered the royal disease of hemophilia.

Maria is interrogated about her father's role in the revolution that led to the murder of the Tsar and his entire family. Thus her story evolves. How much did Rasputin have to do with bringing down the Tsar and a whole way of life for the royals? Why did the people not all love this simple illiterate peasant who seemed to have a direct line to God? How could Rasputin wield such an important influence at court? If he was so good, why was he a target? How could he ignore the signs that his downfall was imminent? He had petitioners almost every day who wanted something from him. Just a short note with his name scrawled on it would work miracles. Money was pressed upon him. Why did he just as quickly give it away?

The Russian Revolution brought great changes that would eventually affect the whole world. How this simple man with such great power would be integral in the collapse of the Romanovs and the royal system makes an intriguing story. Along with the history of this superb book is the fascinating background of the story the streets, alleys and also the great homes and palaces of St. Petersburg.

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