After reading the Romanoff Sisters, I was looking for another book about the Russian royal family and the tragedy that occurred in 1917. I received a recommendation of The Kitchen Boy. Although it is fiction it reads like it really happened this way. While reading the book told through the kitchen boy who served the family in captivity, you wished that perhaps the story would end differently.
"The Kitchen Boy" is one of my favorite books to date. While it lays out many facts and teaches you many things about the Romanov family and Russia during the year 1918, it also gives you a sense of closeness to the last tsar family in Russia. Once you begin to think you have all of the pieces to the puzzle, though, you will begin to see that something is not quite right, which will lead to the biggest surprise in the entire book. This book, a fantastic telling of what might have happened on the fateful July night, keeps you turning pages until Robert Alexander concludes the final chapter.
Read for book club (November 2011) and had a Q&A session with the author via Skype at the Crystal Lake Public Library! It was an interesting historical fiction read! Based on the last weeks of the last royal Russian Tsar and his family, the Romanovs, from the point of view of their loyal kitchen boy, Leonka. It was interesting to hear about how they hid their jewels, passed secret notes to plan an escape/rescue, and to think about how they spent their last days. Some things stuck with me about people in general from the culture/period such as the guards who couldn't read, how the royal family tried to lead something resembling their normal life, and how Leonka kept saying over and over again that they did it with such grace, yet even in exile they were much more well off than most of the country that they used to rule. I thought the twists at the end felt rushed and hurried. They were fun little bits to add but I think it would have been better had the author spent more time with these portions rather than just throwing them about in a very short epilogue.
However, I found out why when we got to chat with the author via Skype for the first 30 minutes of our book club meeting on 11/16/2011. He was really nice, personable, and intelligent! He answered a few things I was wondering about and cleared up a few issues I had with the book, like what I felt was the rushed ending in the epilogue. Apparently it was originally a bit longer (like 450 pp.) and the editor said it needed to be shorter. My guess is that is why the epilogue felt a little compact and too brief; they probably made him cut that portion of the novel down to size.
I also took a gander at the website for the book to prepare for the chat and see what I wanted to ask him (http://www.sitestories.com/robertalexander/). It is really good and includes some pictures related to the Romanovs and some of the events and places in his novel, like the infamous 23 steps mentioned throughout the book. He was very candid and interesting and revealed to us that it is going to be turned into a movie with filming beginning next summer and released sometime in 2013. He wouldn't tell us the name of the actress portraying Alexandra but, he did reveal she was very good and that people from The Pianist and award winning foreign films were involved (screenplay by Ronald Harwood [wrote the screenplays for The Pianist, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, etc.], producer Glenn Willaimson [Push, Sunshine Cleaning, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, etc.). The novel should make a great film and I just had to share what a treat it was to have a Q&A session with the author! Thanks Robert!
A fictional account of the last days of the Romanovs as the Russians begin a dark era in their history. I found this to be a very fascinating read and I really enjoyed it. There is an interesting twist at the end that caught me a bit off guard and caused the ending to be a bit rushed but overall it was a very good book.
Once I got into the story I found this account of the Romanov royal family an enjoyable read. It gives a detailed feel for the time and the hardships but also brings color to the characters. You will want to pass this one on to a friend so you can discuss the final chapters, the story stays with you after you put it down.
Historical fiction about the Russian Romanov family, told by a witness to their massacre - a young kitchen boy named Leonka. A little slow at times, but near the end when the action picks up, I read right on through to the end. Big twist at the end that seemed almost thrown in as a way to end the book. Made me want to know a little more about this tragic family. Easy read
This was a interesting twist on the typical 'what might have happened' to the Tsar & his family. However, I got a bit bored by the middle of the book....
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