10 books like The Romanov Empress

By C.W. Gortner,

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

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Nicholas and Alexandra

By Robert K. Massie,

Book cover of Nicholas and Alexandra: The Classic Account of the Fall of the Romanov Dynasty

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.

Nicholas and Alexandra

By Robert K. Massie,

Why should I read it?

3 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…


The Romanov Sisters

By Helen Rappaport,

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

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.

The Romanov Sisters

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…


The Kitchen Boy

By Robert Alexander,

Book cover of The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar

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. 

The Kitchen Boy

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…


The Last Tsar

By Edvard Radzinsky,

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

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.

The Last Tsar

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?


Russka

By Edward Rutherfurd,

Book cover of Russka: The Novel of Russia

Rutherford's Russka was the first novel about Russia that I read nearly thirty years ago, and its descriptions and plotting still resonates. Through the lens of four families divided by ethnicity, the book sweeps the reader from Russia's Slavic origins to the Bolshevik Revolution. The chapter in which Tsar Ivan the Terrible plays a major role is especially riveting. What impressed me the most was how the author crafted a story of Russian rule and culture spanning 1,800 years and its impact on the characters. 

Russka

By Edward Rutherfurd,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this vast and gorgeous tapestry of a novel, serf and master, Cossack and tsar, priest and Jew are brought together in a family saga which unrolls through centuries of history to reveal that most impenetrable and mysterious of lands - Russia. Through the life of a little town east of Moscow in the Russian heartland, Edward Rutherfurd creates a sweeping family saga from the baffling contradictions of Russia's culture and her peoples - bleak yet exotic, brutal but romantic, land of ritual yet riddled with superstitious fears. From Russia's dawn and the cruel Tatar invasions to Ivan the Terrible…


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.…


Catherine the Great

By Isabel de Madariaga,

Book cover of Catherine the Great: A Short History

British historian Madariaga, an expert in the field of eighteenth-century Russia, gives the reader a balanced, up-to-date, and insightful, multi-faceted yet concise, description of the vast empire that constituted Catherine’s Russia.  The author describes how a minor German princess seized the Romanov throne, how she contrived to become an autocrat ruling over all the Russias, and, how during her thirty-four-year reign, Catherine guided her country into becoming a major player in international power politics.

Catherine the Great

By Isabel de Madariaga,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An eminent scholar of Russian history here presents the most informative, balanced, and up-to-date short study of Catherine the Great and her reign. This edition includes a new preface dealing with recently discovered sources and revised interpretations of the period.
Praise for the earlier edition:
"A panoramic view of Russia's social, political, economic, and cultural development and of its emergence as a formidable power in the international arena during the thirty-four years of [Catherine's] reign."-Anthony Cross, New York Times Book Review
"De Madariaga's book will be the standard and an essential guide for all students and scholars of Russian and…


Catherine the Great

By Robert K. Massie,

Book cover of Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman

This was a page-turner and a great introduction to Russian history. Massie described her so vividly that years later, I can still visualize Catherine. The most fascinating aspect of the book for me was how a German child named Sophie reinvents herself to become Catherine the Great, the longest-serving Russian empress. 

Catherine the Great

By Robert K. Massie,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Catherine the Great as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The fascinating true story behind HBO's Catherine the Great starring Dame Helen Mirren as Catherine the Great.

Born into a minor noble family, Catherine transformed herself into empress of Russia by sheer determination. For thirty-four years, the government, foreign policy, cultural development and welfare of the Russian people were in her hands. She dealt with domestic rebellion, foreign wars and the tidal wave of political change and violence churned up by the French Revolution.

Robert K. Massie brings an eternally fascinating woman together with her family, friends, ministers, generals, lovers and enemies - vividly and triumphantly to life.

History offers…


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