It’s possible I learned about it in school at some point, but my first memorable encounter with the Romanov family came from a 1997 animated film called “Anastasia.” The protagonist had red hair (always a plus), the songs were catchy (hello, “Journey to the Past”), and I had an embarrassingly large crush on the hero, despite the fact that he was a cartoon.
It was a fun, lighthearted movie that I later found out was as realistic as Santa Claus.
Fast forward a decade, when I stumbled upon a historical documentary about the Russian Revolution and the eventual extrajudicial killing of the entire Romanov family (from the tsar to the maid to 13-year-old Alexei).
It was haunting, imagining the horrific scene in that cellar — how the jewels in the girls’ clothing kept them alive when they were far better off dead, how guns became knives and bayonets and clubs because the victims simply wouldn’t die. ::Shiver:: It’s the stuff nightmares are made of.
It was so chilling, in fact, that I realized something: It’s only natural for people to fabricate tales of escape amid such horror. Maybe little Anastasia somehow got out. Maybe the Romanov line didn’t actually end on July 17, 1918. Maybe, somehow, there was a fraction of secret mercy or hope amid the hate.
Jennifer Laam is the latest author to look at the Romanovs and wonder. Her debut novel, THE SECRET DAUGHTER OF THE TSAR, was published in October by St. Martin’s Griffin. It weaves together the stories of three women and imagines an alternate history in which a secret fifth Romanov daughter is smuggled out of Russia before the revolution.
I am thrilled to announce that Jennifer will be stopping by Skipping Midnight on Wednesday, December 18, to answer questions about her book and how she achieved the ultimate writer’s dream. She will also be giving one lucky reader a copy of her new release. All you have to do is read her interview (on the 18th!) and comment below it.
Please mark your calendars. I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday!