About the Book:
From Kathryn Harrison, one of America’s most admired literary voices, comes a gorgeously written, enthralling novel set in the final days of Russia’s Romanov Empire.
St. Petersburg, 1917. After Rasputin’s body is pulled from the icy waters of the Neva River, his eighteen-year-old daughter, Masha, is sent to live at the imperial palace with Tsar Nikolay and his family—including the headstrong Prince Alyosha. Desperately hoping that Masha has inherited Rasputin’s miraculous healing powers, Tsarina Alexandra asks her to tend to Aloysha, who suffers from hemophilia, a blood disease that keeps the boy confined to his sickbed, lest a simple scrape or bump prove fatal.
Two months after Masha arrives at the palace, the tsar is forced to abdicate, and Bolsheviks place the royal family under house arrest. As Russia descends into civil war, Masha and Alyosha grieve the loss of their former lives, finding solace in each other’s company. To escape the confinement of the palace, they tell stories—some embellished and some entirely imagined—about Nikolay and Alexandra’s courtship, Rasputin’s many exploits, and the wild and wonderful country on the brink of an irrevocable transformation. In the worlds of their imagination, the weak become strong, legend becomes fact, and a future that will never come to pass feels close at hand.
Mesmerizing, haunting, and told in Kathryn Harrison’s signature crystalline prose,Enchantments is a love story about two people who come together as everything around them is falling apart.
About the Author:
Kathryn Harrison is the author of the memoirsThe Kiss and The Mother Knot. She has also written the novels Envy, The Seal Wife, The Binding Chair, Poison, Exposure, and Thicker Than Water; a travel memoir, The Road to Santiago; a biography, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux; and a collection of essays, Seeking Rapture. She lives in New York with her husband, the novelist Colin Harrison, and their children.
Learn more about Kathryn and her work at her website, kathrynharrison.com.
This tale of Russia at the point of revolution is written in magical prose. The background is the fall of the Romanovs but the forefront is the story of Rasputin's daughter, Masha. She and her sister were sent to live with the famous family after her father's body was found in the Neva River. Her father had foreseen his death and her future but he would only tell her so much of it.
Masha is brought to the royal household in the hopes that she would be able to help the young tsarevich as Rasputin had. It was not known at the time but he had hemophilia. Masha does not have her father's abilities but she does have a way with words so she keeps him calm with stories; some real, some imagined.
The book moves back and forth in time and some knowledge of the time period and the history of the Romanovs is helpful as you weave through the tale. The book is about Masha though, not the famous family and it was fascinating to follow the life of this woman I knew nothing about as she created a life outside of Russia after the revolution.
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Disclosure: I received a copy of Enchantments gratis. Any opinions are my honest opinions and were not impacted by my receipt of the free book. I received no monetary compensation for this post.