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Rasputin's Daughter Hardcover – 19 Jan 2006

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Books (19 Jan 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739465384
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739465387
  • ASIN: 0670034681
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 3 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,844,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kristin on 9 July 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book to be disappointing at best. I would probably have enjoyed it as a teenager, but from the point of view of an adult it is childish and simplistic. I didn't engage with any of the characters and found the characterisations crude and stereotypical. The Russian was badly rendered and unnecessary in the first place. I certainly won't be picking up any other books by the author.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amelrode VINE VOICE on 16 Jan 2008
Format: Paperback
The name "Rasputin" stands for many for something very very evil. His bad reputation just sticks. So writing about one of the most intriguing personalities involved in the downfall of the Romanov dynasty is bound to be an attractive subject. Many books have been written about Rasputin and either he goes down as the evil incarnate or the great friend and healer.

Robert Alexander uses fiction to get a better understanding of Rasputin. By this Robert Alexander follows the same pattern of his debut bestseller The Kitchen Boy" where he described the last weeks of the life of the Imperial Russian Family .

Fiction is a great tool to personalise often abstract historical events. "Rasputin's daughter" " is one of those books which bring to the reader a historical event in a manageable way without the restraints of a biography. The author can give his idea of the personality he is writing about. Here from the perspective of Rasputin's eldest daughter Maria the period before his violent death is described. It is an interesting perspective in itself. An adoring daughter discovers the dark side of her father and has to re-evaluate.

Again Robert Alexander uses his historical knowledge and knowledge of the Russian life to the full to paint an interesting picture of this long lost time of great change and uncertainty. It is written with a great flow. It is very entertaining. Above all it is very captivating. Fact and fiction merge in a nice way. But it is essentially fiction and one should not forget this. He tries to get to understand who Rasputin was and the reader can make up his own mind while the author presents his. I enjoyed it reading it. But never forget: it is fiction. This novel is definitely worthwhile a read!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 63 reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Robert Alexander is a treasure! 30 Jan 2006
By Traci D. Haley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Robert Alexander spent nearly thirty years traveling to Russia, where he attended Leningrad State University and worked for the U.S. government. For this reason, he proves to be the perfect author to tackle the task of fictionalizing the story of the last of the Romanovs. In "The Kitchen Boy", Alexander exquisitely blended fact and fiction to tell the story of Nicholas II's execution and provided an intriguing "What if?" end to the story. Now, in "Rasputin's Daughter", the author tackles an even more fascinating and controversial subject - that of Father Grigori Rasputin, the much-hated madman who "cured" Alexei Romanov and played a key part in bringing about the downfall of Mother Russia. Told from the point of view of Rasputin's eldest daughter, Maria, this novel traces Gigori Rasputin's final days leading up to his brutal execution by Felix Yusupov and several other Romanov royals who felt threatened by Rasputin's power. Robert Alexander poses his own theories on what might have happened the night Rasputin died and whether the "Mad Monk" really possessed healing abilities, or whether he was just out to harm the Romanov reputation. The result is a novel that I couldn't put down. Alexander obviously loves Russia and manages to perfectly evoke the political and social climate of pre-Revolutionary Russia and the controversy that constantly surrounded the royal family. "Rasputin's Daughter" grips you until the very end and leaves you wanting for more!
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
An enjoyable novel that vividly recounts the last days of Rasputin 24 Jan 2006
By Bookreporter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The problem with reading historical fiction is that you are never quite sure what constitutes truth versus fiction. Unless you are a noted expert on the book's subject matter, you are bound to be iffy on which particulars are 100% true versus those that have been stretched and pulled for dramatic effect.

In Robert Alexander's new novel, RASPUTIN'S DAUGHTER, the minutiae of Grigori Rasputin's (the Russian religious healer and trusted advisor to Tsar Nicholas and Tsaritsa Alexandra) last days are recounted with vivid detail and what seems like stunning accuracy, as if the book were a biography and not fiction. Retold from the perspective of Rasputin's eldest daughter Matryona Grigoevna (Maria), the myths of how Rasputin died are dispelled and a proposed answer to the question of how he was actually killed is spelled out. Much like his imagined (yet impeccably researched) account of the Romanovs' hideous executions during the Russian Revolution in the bestselling THE KITCHEN BOY, the story of Rasputin's final hours is riveting, fast-paced, and almost too comprehensive to be historical fiction. At times, you just want it all to be proven fact.

The novel opens as Maria is being questioned by the Thirteenth Section in April 1917 about her father's mysterious death. Through a succession of flashbacks, Maria describes the last week of her father's life in December 1916, set against the backdrop of a highly unstable Russian empire that is fraught with political upheaval and civil unrest. She recounts in great detail his numerous excursions to the Imperial Palace, and more than hints at the direct correlation between Heir Aleksei Nikolaevich's miraculous recoveries from hemophilia-related injuries and Rasputin's curative powers. She gives reports of his disgraceful sexual appetite and reveals his secret extramarital relationship with their longtime live-in maid, Dunya, yet also insists that he was both kind to and forgiving of his many petitioners and did what he could to alleviate their suffering. Through Maria's eyes, Rasputin is portrayed as a tortured and complex character --- spiritually gifted and fallibly human.

Possibly one of the book's greatest fallacies (and yet, paradoxically, what will probably make it more palatable to those who prefer his mysteries, written under the name R.D. Zimmerman) is Alexander's devotion to Maria's supposed romance with the mysterious Sasha, whom she meets on a boat while traveling with her sister and Dunya, and whom she "runs into" throughout the next few years of her life. Although certainly an endearing plot thread, at times it reads almost too much like a romance novel and some readers might wonder when the plot will focus again on meatier subject matters --- the "historical" behind the fiction.

All mushy romantic encounters aside, it is without question that Alexander has done his research when recreating pre-revolutionary Russia. There is much talk of princes and empresses, courts and royal feasts --- all intricately examined and lavishly portrayed. Vodka is consumed in copious amounts and secret, mysterious plots are being hatched behind every dark corner. Like every good Russian novel, the threat of deceit is always in the air and, in the end, what unfolds is a plot twist (as much as a novel based on fact can contain a "twist") that will delight even the most knowledgeable of readers.

Overall, RASPUTIN'S DAUGHTER is certainly enjoyable and enough to digest in one sitting, if given the time. What the book might have benefited from is an addendum that aims to separate conjecture from documented history, so readers (like this reviewer) will not be left with nagging questions about the book's legitimacy long after the excitement of the story dies down.

--- Reviewed by Alexis Burling
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A must read! 23 Jan 2006
By Armchair Interviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This historical fiction is the story of the last weeks of the life of Grigori Rasputin, the mythic Russian religious healer and advisor to Tsar Nicholas and Tsaritsa Alexandra, in the years before their execution.

An illiterate and uneducated peasant from Siberia, he became both beloved and reviled by the powers in Russia, and by the people. Rasputin's daughter, Matryona Grigorievna, or Maria, was only 18 when her father was murdered. She had always adored and respected her father, but during the last months of his life, she discovered some distasteful truths about him.

She had a hard time reconciling the kind, generous man she had always seen, with the man who was sleeping with the housekeeper while his wife was at home in Siberia, and who abused some of his petitioners. Rasputin helped all who came to him, some with advice, some with one of his notes that asked that whatever the petitioner wanted should be granted; some with money. The powerful, the affluent and the nobility showered him with gifts of money and food, and they also came to him for influence.

The vast dichotomy of the disease, turbulence and poverty of the time, against the small but obscenely wealthy aristocracy living in their insular palaces and served by hundreds of retainers, is depicted perfectly.

Alexander's long familiarity with Russia, the language, the customs, and the history is evident here (he has been traveling there for nearly 30 years). Extensive research has paid off in a fascinating chronicle. Secretive, outlawed religious cults, and murderous plots by corrupt government officials and nobility are part of the narrative. Alexander has included snippets of the poetry of Alexander Blok and the beloved Pushkin, a rare pleasure. The book includes an epilogue, a chronology, and a glossary.

Check the web site [...] for photographs, narrative, and more background on the era.

Armchair Interviews says: With mesmerizing characters, and an evocative atmosphere Alexander has created an informative and enjoyable book full of historical insight into a tumultuous era. This would make an interesting book club selection
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A fascinating historical novel 25 Jan 2006
By Phyllis Marlow - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
What an intriguing way to tell the story of death of one history's most enigmatic and fascinating figures - through the eyes of his eldest daughter. Alexander knows how to keep the pot boiling with this one, a fine follow-up to THE KITCHEN BOY, one of my book groups' favorite selections last year.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
OK 24 Jun 2006
By Loves the View - Published on Amazon.com
Maybe I want too much from fiction. I want it all to be literature, so I'm often set up for disappointment.

The author gives a good description of how Rasputin might have lived in St. Petersburg (Petrograd) and Siberia, and and how he might have healed his petitioners, but fails to describe the protagonist. The title hints that we will get to know her, but we don't.

The compressed time frame of the action interferes with our knowing her; so does the first person narrative. Maria spends a lot of time afraid while searching and being chased in dark places. We don't feel her terror, because we know she will survive and her father will die.

She quickly snaps out of horror and anger at her father's strange healing methods. She falls in love with Sasha who seems to stalk her. She bravely searches the city alone for her father to answer the Empress's call for help. She dines at the palace. The author tells us what she does, but gives us no sense of who she really is or why we should care about her.
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