LOVED this book!! It was easily the best historical fiction I've read all year. One of the reasons I loved this book so much was the fact that it took place in St. Petersburg and I just visited there over the summer and knew pretty much all the palaces and sites they described. It was like reliving my trip!
The story follows Rasputin's daughter, Masha, as she copes with the brutal death of her father and the overthrow of the Tsar. She and her sister are exiled along with the Tsar's family and in their confinement she becomes close with the Tsar's son, frail Aloysha. To pass the time as they await their fate, Masha weaves beautiful stories for the bedridden tsaravvitch, about the history of her family, her father's past as a healer and the young love of Nikolay and Alexandra (Aloysha's parents and former rulers of Russia).
It's beautiful, sad, and exquisitely written and it will inspire you to check out more about this horribly misunderstood chapter of Russian history. Too often we villify Rasputin as a sorcerer (in Hollywood and in history) but this tale humanizes him and his family and brings to life the distressful last days of the Tsar's family (we all know what happens, but we still power through in this novel hoping that magically history will indeed change itself and save their family).
An absolute must read. You won't regret it! I plan on checking out more from this author. She is one hell of a storyteller!