Romanov by Nadine Brandes | A perfect retelling with a touch of magical realism!

Every year more and more books inspired by the history of the Romanov family hit the shelves. The talk about Anastasia’s survival, especially fueled by numerous claims from different women saying that they were Anastasia, marked a great inspiration point for many authors who had to put their own twist on the reality. From the conspiracy of the Romanov family to its prophecy, the Romanov family is by far one of the most talked topics, even after a decade has passed since their execution.

Of course, like many others, I was intrigued by Nadine Brandes new novel «Romanov», a magical retelling of the tragic events that led to the execution of the Romanov family.

goodreads blurb:

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them . . . and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of survival are to either release the spell, and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya’s never dabbled in magic before, but it doesn’t frighten her as much as her growing attraction for Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her . . .


Thank you, Netgalley and Thomas Nelson for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the company or its affiliates in any way.

If you wish to learn more about these historic events, but find the history books a little too boring, this might be exactly what you are looking for.

A perfect retelling …

Do you know the feeling when you pick up a book because the back cover promised for it to be an epic retelling of Cinderella tale, just to get disappointed at the fact that the only similar thing with the Cinderella story is the existence of two step-sisters?

That’s NOT what Romanov is like.

Nadine Brandes did a great job at staying as true to the actual historical facts as possible. The settings, the family helpers, the timeline of the events, it is all very historically accurate. We are told how the girls and the Empress sew jewels in their corsets and clothes to hide from the Bolcheviks. The window incident, the timed walks, the feelings of the common folk and some Bolchevik soldiers, these and more were based on the real events.

In her YouTube video, Nadine Brandes, talks about her love to the Anastasia movie, but says that her new book will be much closer to the actual facts than what was shown to us in the Anastasia movie, where the only similarities were names of a few characters.

… with wondrous elements of magical realism, …

Personally, I love books with a sprinkle of magical realism on top. It is like reading a fable! I even dare to say that «Romanov» was a perfectly balanced book with on-point historical events, a splash of magic ink, touching characters and immersive plot line. Nadine Brandes writing transported me right into the midst of the horrifying events of the Romanov family, making me laugh and cry with the characters, and wish for the injustice to never happen.

… ruined by the romance.

At first the love interest of Romanov sisters didn’t bother me and I actually found it to only be natural that the young girls would fall in love with the only “available” to them men, who showed some kindness to their family during these devastating for them time.

However, as the story progressed, I felt like the romance overpowered and took attention away from other more interesting narratives. So instead of two infatuated Romanov sisters, I would have preferred to see strong and independent young women.

My rating:

If you are not as quickly put off by the romance as I am, I’m sure that this will be your new favorite of 2019. Well-balanced, magical and emotional, this book had all the right elements to draw the readers deeper in the midst of cold Russian settings.

I will be picking up «Fawkes» by Nadine Brandes this year to see if the author can surprise me with king’s assassination devious plan.

P.S. Did you know that Nadine Brandes has a YouTube channel?

have you read any of nadine brandes books?
Let me know in the comments below!


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5 thoughts on “Romanov by Nadine Brandes | A perfect retelling with a touch of magical realism!

    1. Thank you 🙂 Russian inspires novels are usually my favorite! The story of Anastasia Romanov was familiar to me since young age, and this retelling is absolutely magical!
      Let me know what you think if you manage to fit this into your TBR 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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