Grand Duchess Maria Romanova arrives in Ekaterinburg in 1918 with her parents, the former Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra. After months of house arrest in the deep interior of Russia, the family is beginning to despair of ever being rescued. As conditions worsen, Maria and her family are increasingly at the mercy of the men set to guard them. As the pro-monarchist White Army approaches Ekaterinburg, the fate of the Romanovs hangs in the balance.
Thousands of miles away and six decades later, Australian Val Doyle has her hands full with an abusive husband, a small daughter, and a mystery surrounding her recently deceased father, who died claiming, “I didn’t want to kill her!” The only clues to what may have happened are a vintage camera with a roll of film still in it and an exquisite jeweled box that refuses to open.
Veteran novelist Gill Paul unravels the stories of Maria and Val in The Lost Daughter(William Morrow, 2019), a meticulously researched, engrossing novel set in Russia, China, and Australia, which follows her highly popular 2016, The Secret Wife, in which she imagined an alternative history for Maria’s elder sister, Grand Duchess Tatiana. As Val finds the courage to defend herself against her husband, so too, does Maria mature into a strong, self-sufficient woman, though in a vastly different setting than the one imagined for a Romanov Grand Duchess.
The Lost Daughter is a thoroughly satisfying read: Romanov fans will rejoice at this latest iteration of the alternative narrative; one which elevates the genre considerably. Gill Paul’s deft plot twists as Val tries to solve her father’s mystery are rewarding and perfectly crafted, as is the marvelous detail Paul brings to the sweep of twentieth-century history.
Gill Paul’s best-selling historical novels have been translated into twenty languages. They are set in recent history and feature real historical characters presented innovatively. Gill is a native of Scotland, but today makes her home in London. She is a popular speaker on subjects such as the British Royal Family, the Romanovs, and writing. Follow Gill on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or visit her website.
Jennifer Eremeeva is an American expatriate writer who writes about travel, food, lifestyle, and Russian history and culture with bylines in Reuters, Fodor’s, USTOA, The Moscow Times, and Russian Life. She is the in-house travel blogger for Alexander & Roberts, and the award-winning author of Lenin Lives Next Door: Marriage, Martinis, and Mayhem in Moscow and Have Personality Disorder, Will Rule Russia: A Pocket Guide to Russian History. Follow Jennifer on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook or visit jennifereremeeva.com for more information.
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