10 books like Russka

By Edward Rutherfurd,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Russka. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Romanov Empress

By C.W. Gortner,

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

Gortner's story of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna, the wife of Tsar Alexander III, features incredible historical detail on the tumultuous events sweeping through Russia from the tragic death of her husband to the awful murder of her son, Nicholas II, and his family. Told in first person, we see through the tsarina's eyes the slow and inevitable collapse of the Romanov dynasty in the face of gargantuan political and social upheavals. The descriptions of jewels and dresses and festivals underscores Romanov privilege when only a few had so much more than most.

What I found particularly interesting was Gortner's description of the conflict between Maria and Alexandra, the wife of Nicholas II, that spiraled to mistrust, grief, and anger.

The Romanov Empress

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.


Most Beautiful Princess

By Christina Croft,

Book cover of Most Beautiful Princess

Don't let the title fool you, this is not a bodice-ripping romance novel by any means. This is a wonderful - and serious - novelization of the life of Grand Duchess Elisabeth of Russia. Clearly well researched, well written, with realistic character development and dialog - a treat for any Russian history or Romanov history buff! 

Most Beautiful Princess

By Christina Croft,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Most Beautiful Princess as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the age of nineteen, Queen Victoria's granddaughter, Princess Elizabeth of Hesse, stepped into the glittering court of the Romanovs, beginning a journey that would lead her from the shimmering ballrooms of St. Petersburg to the back streets of Moscow. Through intrigues, assassination, war and revolution, to the tragedy of her own horrific murder, she remained true to her calling to bring beauty into the world. Based on the true story of 'the most beautiful princess in Europe', this novel is written in tribute to a remarkable and courageous woman.


The Lost Crown

By Sarah Miller,

Book cover of The Lost Crown

It is generally not easy to find quality historical fiction, and this goes tenfold for fiction about the last Russian imperial family. This book is a definite exception to the rule. Historically accurate down to minute details, and at the same time very well written, the story in The Lost Crown starts just before the revolution and covers the events that lead up to the assassination of the Russian imperial family.

Seen through the eyes of the four historically neglected daughters of the last Tsar - Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia (OTMA), who are usually treated as a collective whole (unless you count trashy novels like Tsarina's Daughter or Anastasia-"survivor"-pseudo-non-fiction, which of course you shouldn't). In this novel, the sisters are portrayed sensitively and realistically, and most importantly as individuals. They are depicted as neither saints, nor as brats, but as normal girls/young women, as they most certainly were.…

The Lost Crown

By Sarah Miller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia. Like the fingers on a hand--first headstrong Olga; thenTatiana, the tallest; Maria the most hopeful for a ring; and Anastasia, the smallest. These are the daughters of Tsar Nicholas II, grand duchesses living a life steeped in tradition abd priviledge. They are each on the brink of starting their own lives, at the mercy of royal matchmakers. The summer of 1914 is that precious last wink of time when they can still be sisters together--sisters that link arms and laugh, sisters that share their dreams and worries, and flirt with the officers of their imperial…


The Royal Mob

By Theresa Sherman,

Book cover of The Royal Mob

Very well researched and well written, the author weaves historical facts into the story with elegant ease, which makes it not only fun to read but also informative. There was even a point when I had to double-check to make sure this was really a work of fiction and not a real memoir by Victoria Battenberg. You really get to know her in this book, and realize that she was not just one of the more obscure of Queen Victoria's granddaughters, but an interesting character in her own right, who was a witness to the crucial historical events of the late 19th and early 20th century.

The Royal Mob

By Theresa Sherman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Royal Mob is the story of the four beautiful Princesses of the House of Hesse, granddaughters of Queen Victoria, who come of age during the zenith of European Royalty. Each makes a brilliant marriage that will bring her both happiness and heartbreak. The eldest, Princess Victoria, marries the handsome Prince Louis of Battenberg, the former lover of Lillie Langtry. The next, the exquisite Elisabeth, is swept off to the unbelievable splendor of the Romanov court by Grand Duke Serge, while Irène dazzles Prince Henry of Prussia and takes her place at the court in Berlin. Alix, the youngest, marries…


Rubies in the Snow

By Kate Hubbard,

Book cover of Rubies in the Snow: Diary of Russia's Last Grand Duchess, 1911-1918

I am surprised that I never came across this book until now. I rarely read Young Adult books, but of course make exceptions for Romanov fiction. There simply is not enough decent Romanov fiction out there, period. IMO this one is a gem. Although of course it is not based on the diaries of real Anastasia (who unfortunately burnt them all when the revolution broke out), the author clearly did a lot of research and seemingly read the diaries of the other sisters. Not sure why this book got so many 3 star ratings, even though the reviews say it is a very good book, but I would definitely recommend it to Romanov fiction and non-fiction history fans.

Rubies in the Snow

By Kate Hubbard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rubies in the Snow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The diary of Anastasia Nicolaevna Romanov, the last Grand Duchess.


Tsarina

By Ellen Alpsten,

Book cover of Tsarina

Empress Catherine the Great immediately comes to mind when referring to women who ruled Russia. In Tsarina, however, author Alpsten focuses on Catherine Alexeyevna, the wife of Peter the Great, who rose to power in the early 18th century. Born into devastating poverty, Catherine is a woman who holds her cards close and plays them judiciously. She seduces Peter, revels in the riches and debauchery of the Russian court, and emerges not only as his wife, but a linchpin to Russia's future when Peter dies. This is an extraordinary tale of a powerful and intelligent woman often ignored in history.

Tsarina

By Ellen Alpsten,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Makes Game of Thrones look like a nursery rhyme." —Daisy Goodwin, New York Times bestselling author of The Fortune Hunter

“[Alpsten] recounts this remarkable woman’s colourful life and times." —Count Nikolai Tolstoy, historian and author

Before there was Catherine the Great, there was Catherine Alexeyevna: the first woman to rule Russia in her own right. Ellen Alpsten's rich, sweeping debut novel is the story of her rise to power.

St. Petersburg, 1725. Peter the Great lies dying in his magnificent Winter Palace. The weakness and treachery of his only son has driven his father to an appalling act of cruelty…


The Romanov Bride

By Robert Alexander,

Book cover of The Romanov Bride

This book focuses on another woman from Russian history. Grand Duchess Elisavyeta was the sister of Tsarina Alexandra, the wife of Tsar Nicholas II. A woman of privilege and power, the grand duchess enjoyed all of the luxuries Russia had to offer until the murder of the Tsar Nicholas and his family. But this story also centers on Pavel, the son of serfs, who seeks a new life in St. Petersburg. The lives of Pavel and Elisavyeta intertwine as revolution changes them and their country. Both of these characters, one coming from privilege and the other from poverty, are well-defined and represent the chaos of their times.

The captivating ending to this book is tragic, where violence begets more violence, yet Alexander captures the humanity of both characters.

The Romanov Bride

By Robert Alexander,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The bestselling tale of Romanov intrigue from the author of The Kitchen Boy

Book groups and historical fiction buffs have made Robert Alexander's two previous novels word-of-mouth favorites and national bestsellers. Set against a backdrop of Imperial Russia's twilight, The Romanov Bride has the same enduring appeal. The Grand Duchess Elisavyeta's story begins like a fairy tale-a German princess renowned for her beauty and kind heart marries the Grand Duke Sergei of Russia and enters the Romanov's lavish court. Her husband, however, rules his wife as he does Moscow-with a cold, hard fist. And, after a peaceful demonstration becomes a…


I Was Anastasia

By Ariel Lawhon,

Book cover of I Was Anastasia

The tragedy and mystery surrounding the murders of Tsar Nicholas and his family at the hands of the Bolsheviks has been well documented. Author Lawhon goes a step further through the eyes of Anastasia, the tsar's youngest daughter who was thought to have survived. But it is also the story of Anna Anderson, fished out of a canal in Berlin, and later claiming to be the lost Anastasia. This book is a splendid blend of stories of two young women caught in perilous times. The massacre of the Romanovs in the Ipatiev House is told in chilling detail, yet the fight by Anna Anderson to be recognized as Anastasia is equally as absorbing.

I Was Anastasia

By Ariel Lawhon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Was Anastasia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An enthralling feat of historical suspense that unravels the extraordinary twists and turns in Anna Anderson's fifty-year battle to be recognized as Anastasia Romanov. Is she the Russian Grand Duchess or the thief of another woman's legacy?

Countless others have rendered their verdict. Now it is your turn.

Russia, July 17, 1918: Under direct orders from Vladimir Lenin, Bolshevik secret police force Anastasia Romanov, along with the entire imperial family, into a damp basement in Siberia, where they face a merciless firing squad. None survive. At least that is what the executioners have always claimed.…


The Image of Ivan the Terrible in Russian Folklore

By Maureen Perrie,

Book cover of The Image of Ivan the Terrible in Russian Folklore

The extent of an evil leader’s influence can be measured in terms of whether he or she enters popular folklore. In the case of Ivan the Terrible, the Russian “grozny” in “Ivan Grozny” is actually translated as “awe-inspiring,” though the “terrible” tag has ensured that the czar would be remembered for his paranoia, brutality, and alleged insanity.

In folklore it was different: as Perrie’s book demonstrates, Ivan was a sympathetic figure through the twentieth century, in tales that recounted his triumphs in war or his repenting after an act of cruelty. Perrie attributes the favorable views of Ivan to “popular monarchism,” but he was also a figure whose image could be grafted onto existing folkloric archetypes to powerful effect.

The Image of Ivan the Terrible in Russian Folklore

By Maureen Perrie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Image of Ivan the Terrible in Russian Folklore as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ivan the Terrible has long been a controversial figure. Some historians regard him as a crazed and evil tyrant; while others (especially Soviet scholars of the Stalin period) have viewed him as a progressive and far-sighted statesman. The folklore about Ivan has played an important part in these debates. Was Ivan's depiction in folklore favourable or hostile? And how far can it be regarded as evidence of contemporary popular attitudes towards the tsar? In this unusual and far-ranging study, Maureen Perrie discusses the nature of Ivan's image in Russian folklore; its historical basis; its development; and the controversies which have…


The Ringed Castle

By Dorothy Dunnett,

Book cover of The Ringed Castle: Book Five in the Legendary Lymond Chronicles

This book was my introduction to Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles. I picked it up at a library sale and was immediately caught up in its portrayal of Francis Crawford, a Scottish adventurer who ends up at the court of Ivan the Terrible. Based loosely on the diary of Sir Jerome Horsey, it represents an older understanding of how Muscovite Russia operated, but it’s a great adventure told with vivid details and remarkable characters, still my favorite among the six books in this series.

The Ringed Castle

By Dorothy Dunnett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For the first time Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles are available in the United States in quality paperback editions.

Fifth in the legendary Lymond Chronicles, The Ringed Castle leaps from Mary Tudor's England to the barbaric Russia of Ivan the Terrible. Francis Crawford of Lymond moves to Muscovy, where he becomes advisor and general to the half-mad tsar. Yet even as Lymond tries to civilize a court that is still frozen in the attitudes of the Middle Ages, forces in England conspire to enlist this infinitely useful man in their own schemes.


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