The best books on the last Romanovs

Why am I passionate about this?

A proud native of Stockton, CA, Jennifer Laam resides in California with a temperamental tabby cat named Jonesy. Her other works of historical fiction are The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, The Tsarina’s Legacy, and The Lost Season of Love and Snow. When not reading or writing, she enjoys planning cosplay for the next San Diego Comic-Con, experimenting with vegetarian recipes (to mixed results), cooing at Baby Yoda, or obsessing over House Targaryen. 


I wrote...

The Romanov Heiress

By Jennifer Laam,

Book cover of The Romanov Heiress

What is my book about?

Four sisters in hiding. A grand duchess in disguise. An alternate future for the Romanov sisters from Jennifer Laam, author of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar. 

With her parents and brother missing and presumed dead, Grand Duchess Olga Romanova must keep her younger sisters safe. The Bolsheviks are determined to eliminate any remaining holdovers from the tsarist regime, hunting down the last Romanovs and putting them to death. Now living in England, the Romanov sisters remain hidden to protect their identities, even as isolation strains their relationships. But they can’t distance themselves from the world forever.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of Nicholas and Alexandra

Jennifer Laam Why did I love this book?

This classic tale of the last Romanovs is both a meticulously researched history and a sweeping personal saga. Massie and his wife were the parents of a son who suffered from the same condition as the last Russian heir to the throne: hemophilia. His empathy for their personal lives makes this a poignant and ultimately devastating read.

By Robert K. Massie,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Nicholas and Alexandra as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A superbly crafted and humane portrait of the last days - and last rulers - of the Russian Empire.

Complementing his Pulitzer prize-winning Peter the Great, in this commanding book Robert K. Massie sweeps readers back to the extraordinary world of imperial Russia to tell the story of the decline and fall of the ruling Romanov family: Tsar Nicholas II's political naivete; his wife Alexandra's obsession with the corrupt mystic Rasputin; and their son Alexis's battle with haemophilia.

Against a lavish backdrop of luxury and intrigue, Massie unfolds a family tragedy played out on the brutal stage of early twentieth-century…


Book cover of The Romanov Empress: A Novel of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna

Jennifer Laam Why did I love this book?

The sumptuous story of Nicholas II’s mother, Empress Maria Feodorovna, aka Princess Dagmar of Denmark. Initially engaged to his brother, she becomes the wife of Tsar Alexander III. This elegant novel follows the new empress from the triumphs of her early years in Russia, conflicts with her son’s wife, Alexandra, and the challenges and heartbreak of the Russian Revolution.

By C.W. Gortner,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Romanov Empress as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Novel of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna From the opulent palaces of St. Petersburg to the World War I battlefields and the bloodied countryside occupied by the Bolsheviks, C. W. Gortner sweeps us into the fall of an empire and the bold heart of the woman who tried to save it.


Book cover of The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra

Jennifer Laam Why did I love this book?

Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia: the four daughters of Nicholas II are sometimes known as OTMA and often seen as a collective. With their carefully curated public images, Rappaport refers to them as the “Princess Dianas of their day.” At the same time, their individual personalities come to life via diary entries, correspondence, and fascinating reconstructions of their experiences as young women coming to age in the last days of imperial Russia, nurses during WWI, and prisoners after the Revolution.

By Helen Rappaport,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Romanov Sisters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On 17 July 1918, four young women walked down twenty-three steps into the cellar of a house in Ekaterinburg. The eldest was twenty-two, the youngest only seventeen. Together with their parents and their thirteen-year-old brother, they were all brutally murdered. Their crime: to be the daughters of the last Tsar and Tsaritsa of All the Russias.

Much has been written about Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra and their tragic fate, as it has about the Russian Revolutions of 1917, but little attention has been paid to the Romanov princesses, who - perhaps inevitably - have been seen as minor players…


Book cover of The Kitchen Boy

Jennifer Laam Why did I love this book?

A harrowing and beautifully told novel of the last days of the Romanovs in imprisonment. The point of view character is a surviving servant, Leonka, a child released from the “House of Special Purpose” shortly before the execution of the royal family. 

By Robert Alexander,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Kitchen Boy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient), directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky (The Counterfeiters)

Drawing from decades of work, travel, and research in Russia, Robert Alexander re-creates the tragic, perennially fascinating story of the final days of Nicholas and Alexandra Romanov as seen through the eyes of their young kitchen boy, Leonka. Now an ancient Russian immigrant, Leonka claims to be the last living witness to the Romanovs' brutal murders and sets down the dark secrets of his past with the imperial family. Does he hold the key to the many questions surrounding the…


Book cover of The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas II

Jennifer Laam Why did I love this book?

Radvinsky is a celebrated Russian playwright and historian. Raised in the Soviet Union, when information about the last Romanovs was repressed, his unique take on the tsar’s life makes this both a fascinating history and thoughtful meditation on what Nicholas II represents to Russians.

By Edvard Radzinsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Tsar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Edvard Radzinki, the leading Russian playwright, offers a portrait of Nicholas and Alexandra's marriage and an account of the final days of the Russian royal family's arrest, imprisonment and regicide. The opening of long-closed archives has allowed the author to make discoveries and reach new and revealing conclusions. His hitherto uptapped sources include three participants in the shooting, Radzinki reveals Lenin's role in the execution and has seen the actual telegram in which the order for the murder was given and there is the outstanding question: were the Tsarina and the daughters allowed to escape?


You might also like...

Liddy-Jean Marketing Queen and the Matchmaking Scheme

By Mari Sangiovanni,

Book cover of Liddy-Jean Marketing Queen and the Matchmaking Scheme

Mari Sangiovanni

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Introducing the irrepressible Liddy-Jean Carpenter, a young woman who has learning disabilities but also has a genius plan.

While Liddy-Jean spends her days doing minor office tasks with nobody paying attention, she sees how badly the wand-waving big boss treats the Marketing Department worker bees. So, she takes lots of notes for a business book to teach bosses to be better. Liddy-Jean likes office-mate Rose and Rose’s new friend Jenny, but she doesn’t like Rose’s creepy boyfriend. So how can she save Rose?

Liddy-Jean knows with certainty that love is love, and she concludes that Rose should be with Jenny, bosses should do better, and everybody needs the services of Liddy-Jean, Marketing Queen.

Liddy-Jean Marketing Queen and the Matchmaking Scheme

By Mari Sangiovanni,

What is this book about?

Novelist and filmmaker Mari SanGiovanni introduces readers to the irrepressible Liddy-Jean Carpenter, a matchmaker with special talents who will charm readers with her wit, wisdom, and sensibilities in this warm, enchanting love-is-love office romance.

Liddy-Jean Carpenter has learning disabilities. But she also has a surprisingly genius plan.

While she spends her days doing minor office tasks with nobody paying attention, she sees how badly the wand-waving big boss treats the Marketing Department worker bees. So, she takes lots of notes for a business book to teach bosses to be better.

While compiling pages of bad behavior notes, she finds she…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Russia, empresses, and the Soviet Union?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Russia, empresses, and the Soviet Union.

Russia Explore 354 books about Russia
Empresses Explore 19 books about empresses
The Soviet Union Explore 335 books about the Soviet Union