Romanov by Nadine Brandes

Title: Romanov
Author: Nadine Brandes
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: May 7th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Retellings

The history books say I died.

They don’t know the half of it.

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 . . .

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.


Enjoy an Premium Excerpt at: HERE

As well as an Audio Excerpt at: HERE




I was excited to read Romanov. Whenever I see a story that has to do with that period of history in Russia, I immediately am drawn to it because it is strongly connected to my own family history.

My grandmother had to flee Russia at a young age, my great-grandfather who was also fleeing with her did not make it. She was actually saved by a kind Polish woman and made it to America but she lived her entire life, ENTIRE life in fear of the Bolsheviks. She wouldn’t talk about it. There is so much family history that left this world with her because she wouldn’t even tell us her real last name. (she used her mother’s maiden name). So I was glad to see a story that is connected to Anastasia and includes the Bolsheviks. They were a huge part of history for Russia and granted I consider most Anastasia retellings to be really be about Anna Anderson. I thought this story is so unique because it does include these important pieces of history and I was happy to see them.

So again. Yes I’m always invested in these stories of the time period and I loved that Romanov took such a different approach to a plot. The first 60 percent of the book follows the history of the Romanov’s up to their demise. It was sad to read but also really interesting to think about what they might have been thinking leading up to the horrible events. You get to see a personable side of the Romanov family through this book and even though we can’t talk to them now it’s interesting to imagine. There wasn’t many Russian words but I loved that Bubushka was included and talking about Pelmeni because I’ve been craving it. Ha ha!

As far as the magic involvement in the plot. I really liked having what were considered the mystics to be actual spell master. People who could use magical words with spell ink to cast spells. I actually wish it had a more prevalent role. I was really immersed in the family but at one point I did think in my head. Wait where are we going with the matryoshka? When we do get beyond the Romanov history and we go into Nadine’s version of what could have happened to Anastasia the spell work comes more into play. I would have really liked to have seen more of it but I really enjoyed the twist on the possibility of where her story could have lead her. I love how well it intertwines with the actual history.

Nastya was a character that was easy to bond with immediately. To see the world through her eyes and what it might be for a princess who is in exile might feel. Would she be unbearable or just want to keep her family safe. Again the history saddens me but I really enjoyed Nastya as a character. She’s strong and witty. Not perfect in any way, she doesn’t understand the frustrations of her people but begins to see how they could view the family in the light they did.

Zash was also an interesting character. I find the motivations for people to choose a side to always be interesting. Sometimes people pick a side because it’s safe not because it’s right. It’s easy to say that you would always do the right thing but when your family is at stake? I really liked that he represented an interesting perspective.

I also really liked the family except for the Tsarina but that’s just me. I loved the way Nicholas II is portrayed. I don’t know what he was really like but I hope that would be what he was really like.

I really enjoyed the writing. I really liked how the character’s all have their own personalities. Even though more were delved into than others, you had a real sense of the family. I felt the book had good pacing but again I really love historical fiction and I find retellings of events fascinating.

I really liked this Historical Fiction, I don’t think it can be called a Anastasia Retelling. I’m not sure if anyone calls it that. The story is such a great way to bring in the actual history. I hope someday someone will include Grand Duchess Olga, Anastasia's Aunt, but we will see. I enjoyed reading this and I hope it makes people more interested in the history because I’m a history nerd. Ha ha.


Nadine once spent four days as a sea cook in the name of book research. She's the author of FAWKES and of the award-winning The Out of Time Series. Her inner fangirl perks up at the mention of soul-talk, Quidditch, bookstagram, and Oreos. When she's not busy writing novels about bold living, she's adventuring through Middle Earth or taste-testing a new chai. Nadine and her Auror husband are building a Tiny House on wheels. Current mission: paint the world in shalom.

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About Jen

I love books, tea/coffee(by the gallon) and sour candy. I wear my nerd badge with pride and have two children ages 5 and 3 that keep me on my toes.
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10 comments:

  1. This sounds pretty great! I have a copy on my shelf so I hope to get to it soon. I do love historical fiction.
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