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The Last Grand Duchess: Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, 1 June 1882 - 24 November 1960 Paperback – 1 Feb 2002
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Top customer reviews
This book is a remarkable memoir of a lady whose life paradoxically reached fulfillment only when all else had been stripped away. One must allow it a few pinches of salt - the words of an old and infirm lady eager to put the record straight are unlikely to be 100% accurate but they do convey the essence of the people and events they describe from a unique perspective. Olga's dignity informs every page and you will be moved by this book, as she says 'If I started crying I wouldn't stop - so instead I laugh'. Her optimism is uplifting and you will miss her after you have turned the final page.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Olga Alexandrovna was not a brilliant or well educated woman. Her voice is that of a woman caught on the wrong side of history who suffered much tragic loss. She is understandably sympathetic to Imperial Russia and blind to its shortcomings. Nevertheless, the reader will find little bitterness in her story.
Olga was an individualist who enjoyed painting and a quiet country life. She endured nearly twenty years of a mockery of a marriage her mother forced her into, then found happiness as the wife of an ordinary Russian officer. Her second marriage caused her to become something of an outcast among her fellow Romanovs in exile, but she willingly gave up their society for the life of a simple country wife and mother, first in Denmark and later in Canada.
The most valuable parts of the book today are Olga's memories of her brother Nicholas, his wife Alexandra, and their five children. Her descriptions of their loving home and family and of her brother and sister-in-law's many kindnesses are a welcome contrast to the many books which depict the last Tsar and Empress as cold and heartless. Even more important are Olga's memories of Rasputin. She must have been among the last people to clearly remember him, and her description of him is vivid and disturbing.
This is an excellent book for any student of Russia and the Romanovs.
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