The Secret Wife
A Russian grand duchess and an English journalist. Linked by one of the world’s greatest mysteries...Love. Guilt. Heartbreak.1914: Russia is on the brink of collapse, and the Romanov family faces a terrifyingly uncertain future. Grand Duchess Tatiana has fallen in love with cavalry officer Dmitri, but events take a catastrophic turn, placing their romance—and their lives—in danger...2016: Kitty Fisher escapes to her great-grandfather’s remote cabin in America, after a devastating revelation makes her flee London. There, on the shores of Lake Akanabee, she discovers the spectacular jewelled pendant that will lead her to a long-buried family secret...Haunting, moving and beautifully written, The Secret Wife effortlessly crosses centuries, as past merges with present in an unforgettable story of love, loss and resilience.Perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Dinah Jefferies.

The Secret Wife Details

TitleThe Secret Wife
Author
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 25th, 2016
PublisherAvon
ISBN0008102147
ISBN-139780008102142
Number of pages416 pages
Rating
GenreHistorical Fiction, Fiction, Romance, Historical

The Secret Wife Review

  • Julie
    March 21, 2017
    The Secret Wife by Gill Paul is a 2016 Avon publication. This book is an amazing, epic love story, unlike any I’ve read in a long time!When Kitty Fischer makes a shocking discovery about her life and marriage, she flees England in search of the property in the Adirondacks she recently inherited. The place is in horrible disrepair, but she sets to work restoring it, while searching out her personal connection to her great-grandfather, Dmitri, the original owner of the property. This is a journey The Secret Wife by Gill Paul is a 2016 Avon publication. This book is an amazing, epic love story, unlike any I’ve read in a long time!When Kitty Fischer makes a shocking discovery about her life and marriage, she flees England in search of the property in the Adirondacks she recently inherited. The place is in horrible disrepair, but she sets to work restoring it, while searching out her personal connection to her great-grandfather, Dmitri, the original owner of the property. This is a journey that will take the reader all the way back to 1914 where Dmitri is recovering from a war wound, and meets the great love of his life, Tatiana Romanov. Like most of you, I have heard stories about the Romanov family. Most of us are familiar with Anastasia, but this novel features her sister, Tatiana, which is a refreshing change of pace. I have not thought about the Romanov family in a very long time, and for some reason, books based on the family or this period in history never seems to show up on my radar. So, because it was so unlike other historical fiction, I normally read, this one really captivated me. While Kitty does the research into her family tree and discovers the shocking truth about her grandfather, she is feverishly restoring the cabin she inherited, and avoiding contact with her husband until she figures out how to get her life back on track. Her story is the contemporary thread that links the past with the present, but it’s Dmitri and Tatiana’s story that held me prisoner, and broke my heart into a million pieces.The author obviously did a great deal of painstaking research, providing incredible and lush details that put me right there in the midst of royal opulence, only to later find myself experiencing the fall of the Tsar and the horrors of war, right along with Dimitri and Tatiana. We follow their tragic, but, powerful love story, and Dmitri’s years following the war. I was absolutely on the edge of my seat, riveted, and mesmerized! I also enjoyed Kitty’s personal growth, her journey toward self-discovery, her awakening, so to speak. Although, she could have worded it a little better, I was happy she decided to use a negative experience as a chance to take stock of her life and made something good come from something bad. Those of you who have followed my reviews, know that on occasion, I whine about the demise of the sweeping romantic historical sagas of old, so you can imagine how very much I loved this story! The only thing left to say is: READ THIS BOOK!! 5 stars!!
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  • Magdalena
    August 23, 2016
    I had already decided that this was a book that I really wanted to read before I got a mail about participating in a blog tour for the book. I been interested in the Romanovs for years and reading a mystery book about Grand Duchess Tatiana was too tempting to resist. I was especially thrilled about reading about Tatiana instead of Anastasia who otherwise seems to be the most popular sister to write about.The Secret Wife has two storylines. One in the present time with Kitty leaving her husband i I had already decided that this was a book that I really wanted to read before I got a mail about participating in a blog tour for the book. I been interested in the Romanovs for years and reading a mystery book about Grand Duchess Tatiana was too tempting to resist. I was especially thrilled about reading about Tatiana instead of Anastasia who otherwise seems to be the most popular sister to write about.The Secret Wife has two storylines. One in the present time with Kitty leaving her husband in London settling in her great-grandfather's remote cabin in America. There she discovers that her grandfather was a writer and she finds a pendant that once belonged to a dog whose owner was a Russain Grand Duchess. And, in the past storyline, we get to met her young grandfather when he wounded is taking care off by a very special nurse.This is a what if story. What if Dmitri and Tatiana had really fallen in love and what if he had tried everything to save her life? What would be the consequences? I looked up Tatiana and Dmitri on Wikipedia and was surprised to learn that Dmitri rally had existed and that Tatiana had nursed him when he was wounded. So, even thou the book is fiction, does it have some historical bearing. I especially like that the story took some surprising turns, that it turned out to be darker and sadder story than I had expected when I started to read the book. The people in this book make rash decisions and some decisions will have ramifications years later. This is a book where both storylines are good. I liked reading about how Kitty discovered more about her great-grandfather life and thus learning more about her family. And, Dmitri's storyline is just as intriguing.
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  • Karen
    April 2, 2016
    Having loved Gill’s previous book (No Place For a Lady) I was very much looking forward to reading this and I wasn’t disappointed. I’ve always had a fascination for the Russian Romanov family and it’s well documented in history how they met their fate. What the author has done with The Secret Wife, and so very well, is to combine fiction with fact to make a spellbinding tale of love and loss.I love dual narrative and timeslip but quite often prefer one period to another – as I thought would be t Having loved Gill’s previous book (No Place For a Lady) I was very much looking forward to reading this and I wasn’t disappointed. I’ve always had a fascination for the Russian Romanov family and it’s well documented in history how they met their fate. What the author has done with The Secret Wife, and so very well, is to combine fiction with fact to make a spellbinding tale of love and loss.I love dual narrative and timeslip but quite often prefer one period to another – as I thought would be the case here. Initially, I thought that Kitty’s story would be the weakest of the two but as the story progressed and her investigations led to more being known about the later years of her long lost relation together with the discovery of family secrets, I found that I enjoyed both timelines equally. Although Kitty was mainly the vehicle for the telling of her great-grandfather’s story, she became a stronger character in her own right. I was very impressed with her carpentry skills whilst repairing the remote lakeside cabin that she inherited!The story primarily focuses on cavalry officer Dimitri Yakovlevich Malama and his love for The Grand Duchess Tatiana. Although he had been an Imperial Guard for the family, their most personal encounter was in a converted hospital ward at the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoe Selo when Dimiti, aged 23, was recovering from injuries suffered during the fighting at the front between the Russians and Germans. Tatiana together with her sister Olga and their mother were helping to tend the wounded and the brief times that Dimitri and Tatiana spent together was the beginning of a love that would be both wonderful and the cause of so much heartache and danger.This is a story spanning the years from 1914, including the Bolshevik revolution in 1918 and then in later years up to 2016. The research has been meticulous and the setting, the characters and the turmoil and brutality of the revolution were all bought to life. From the extravagance and opulence of the Tsar and his family – they gave each other Faberge eggs as presents and, later, with the Romanov women sewing their precious jewels in their underclothes for safekeeping; to the dreadfully harsh conditions suffered by the poorest of Russian citizens giving rise to the revolution and then the cruelty and determination of the Red Army to take control and to rid Russia of the wealthiest and most hated families – particularly the Romanov Royal family.I became completely absorbed in the lives of Dimitri and Tatiana. Dimitri was a brave soldier but with an impulsive nature who was later to regret certain decisions he had made. Tatiana we knew slightly less about although she appeared to be a very brave and resilient young woman if a little naive and unworldly due to her family’s extreme wealth. Reference is made to her mother’s (Alexandra, the Tsarina) dependence on the healer and mystic, Rasputin, and the influence he had over the family. With her husband, the Tsar, away commanding his army, she was left in control. Because of her German ancestry, she was regarded with suspicion and thought by some of being a traitor during Russia’s war with Germany.I don’t want to go into too much detail about the rest of the story and risk spoiling it but I absolutely loved The Secret Wife and it will be on my top books of the year list for 2016. This is only the second book I have read by Gill Paul but what I love about her writing is the way her vivid descriptions bring the story alive, you can’t help but be pulled into the story and feel an emotional attachment to the characters.The Secret Wife is a captivating and often emotional story of a fascinating and brutal period in history. Gill Paul has woven into history her own view of events. I would love to believe that her version is the true one.
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  • Kate
    August 25, 2016
    The Secret Wife is a fascinating and beautifully written novel which makes the reader wonder "what if?"This book has a dual storyline that weaves back and forth between 1914 and 2016 narrated respectively by Russian cavalry officer Dmitri Malama and Kitty Fisher who has fled London and headed for her great grandfather's remote cabin in the wake of relationship issues. Dmitri's tale finds him in a military hospital during World War I, and recounts the story of his love affair with the Grand Duche The Secret Wife is a fascinating and beautifully written novel which makes the reader wonder "what if?"This book has a dual storyline that weaves back and forth between 1914 and 2016 narrated respectively by Russian cavalry officer Dmitri Malama and Kitty Fisher who has fled London and headed for her great grandfather's remote cabin in the wake of relationship issues. Dmitri's tale finds him in a military hospital during World War I, and recounts the story of his love affair with the Grand Duchess Tatiana Romanov. It also details the turbulent political landscape of Russia and the effects it has on everyone.Kitty on the other hand is reeling after what she discovers in London, and makes a break for America to think things through at her great grandfather's cabin in Adirondacks which she has inherited. She spends time repairing the cabin and learning more about the great grandfather she knew nothing about. When reading the description, I wondered just how successfully this dual storyline would work and whether the author would pull this off, and she does so seamlessly. The level of detail in this shows how that extensive research has been done by the author to ensure that not only the story flows well but also that the historical details are accurate, especially the attitudes towards people like the Romanovs who lived in luxury compared to the ordinary people of Russia who lived in dire poverty. The historical details of the Red Army and their executions of the Romanov family are harrowing to read but are accurate. Being able to take such a spectacularly intriguing family and bring them to life through her writing is no mean feat, there is an abundance of material on the Romanov family available, but something in the writing here brought them alive more than anything else I've read.An unforgettable read, with well rounded characters, the inclusion of the idea of what if not all of the Romanovs were executed in 1918 makes this a thoroughly intriguing book.Many thanks to the publisher for a copy of this in return for an honest review.
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  • Abbie
    August 10, 2016
    Wow! I adored this book! I studied A Level History as a teenager and since then have had a real fascination with Russia and Russian history, so I jumped at the chance to read this book. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to describe just how much I enjoyed it!The Secret Wife has a dual storyline and is set in Russia from 1914 onwards and present day America. Told through the eyes of Kitty Fisher, who has fled from Britain to her great-grandfather’s cabin in America following relationship difficul Wow! I adored this book! I studied A Level History as a teenager and since then have had a real fascination with Russia and Russian history, so I jumped at the chance to read this book. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to describe just how much I enjoyed it!The Secret Wife has a dual storyline and is set in Russia from 1914 onwards and present day America. Told through the eyes of Kitty Fisher, who has fled from Britain to her great-grandfather’s cabin in America following relationship difficulties, and Dmitri Malama, a Russian cavalry officer, who is in a military hospital during the first world war. Kitty’s side of the story centres around her coming to terms with her relationship difficulties and her finding out more about her great-grandfather, who she previously knew nothing about. I loved the genealogy aspect of the story and the unfolding of Kitty’s family secrets.Dmitri’s side of the story tells the tale of his love affair with Grand Duchess Tatiana Romanov against the backdrop of the political instability of Russia at that time. This is the start of a beautiful but tragic love story that had me in tears by the end of the book.Gill’s characterisation is fantastic, Dmitri is portrayed wonderfully. He is heroic and brave with the melancholia often associated with the Russian character. His passion and deep love for Tatiana is beautifully described and portrayed by Gill and you cannot help but adore him and go through his emotions with him.It is clear that a lot of research has gone into The Secret Wife. Gill provides an accurate portrayal of Russia at this time. The difficulties faced by the Russian troops against the Germans despite their large size, the feelings of discontent towards the Romanovs who lived in luxury while their people struggled and lived in poverty, the build up to the revolution and the dire consequences of it’s success. The brutality in the way the Red Army dealt with the Romanov family is distressing but historically accurate. Gill has made this fascinating period in history understandable and interesting. Kitty’s story is equally enjoyable. The profound impact the discovery of her great-grandfather’s life has on her is touching. Hers is a tale of learning to understand relationships, how they change with time and how to nurture them.The Secret Wife seamlessly moves between the centuries, and as the past and present come together, you cannot help but be moved. Gill is an extremely talented writer, she has brought the story of the Romanovs vividly to life. I love the slant she has taken, drawing on past actual claims that some of the Romanov children where still alive, it really sets your imagination on fire.I highly recommend this book. It is beautifully written, fascinating, largely historically accurate and leaves you with the thought ‘what if…?’ A huge thank you to Gill Paul and Helena Sheffield from Avon Books for the copy in exchange for my opinion.Published 25 August 2016 by Avon Books.
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  • Anna
    August 26, 2016
    Childish tosh.
  • Kate
    August 20, 2016
    An engrossing love story and a thoroughly entertaining historical novel.A review: https://forwinternights.wordpress.com...
  • Lor
    April 26, 2016
    I have just finished reading this book and... wow what a book! Having read Gill Paul's three most recent novels and devoured them, I was looking forward to reading this one and having that 'being lost in a book' feeling again and I wasn't disappointed. This book had me interested right from the start, with characters that were so brilliantly crafted I didn't want to put the book down as I wanted to know what would happen and now that i've finished the book I'm left thinking about it- always a si I have just finished reading this book and... wow what a book! Having read Gill Paul's three most recent novels and devoured them, I was looking forward to reading this one and having that 'being lost in a book' feeling again and I wasn't disappointed. This book had me interested right from the start, with characters that were so brilliantly crafted I didn't want to put the book down as I wanted to know what would happen and now that i've finished the book I'm left thinking about it- always a sign of a well written book in my opinion. Kitty has just left her husband, rather hurriedly, after finding out that he was having an affair. She flew out to Lake Akanabee where she had just recently learnt that she had inherited her great grandfather's tumble-down cabin by the lake. When she's there it makes her wonder what kind of a man her great grandfather was and why her own grandparents never spoke of him. As she starts to repair his cabin and researches about him she uncovers some very surprising facts which could have meant for an extremely different life for her family. Upon delving into her family's past it also enables her to question her own life and what she wants from it with regards to her husband and her career. Kitty's great grandfather Dimitri suffered a leg injury whilst in action in Russia and woke up one morning in the hospital to see what he described as an angel beside him but it was in fact Tatiana, part of the Russian Royal family. She tended to him, her company brightened his days during recovery and they became very close.Their lives were not straight forward though, they couldn't have a public relationship so had to meet privately and whilst away from each other rely upon the poor postal system during the war. There was great controversy over the Romonovs and how they lived lavishly whilst the rest of Russia starved and so Dimitri and Tatiana married privately so that they could confirm their love for each other but without there being more attention upon the family. All Dimitri and Tatiana wanted was to have a life together but the uprising of the times stopped all of that as the Romonovs were held captive and when Dimitri attempted to rescue them it all went horribly wrong. It was thought that the entire family had been killed, but without there being any evidence of bodies, Dimitri was determined to keep looking for her... but how long could he hold onto the hope that she was still alive? How can he possibly live the rest of his life without knowing the fate of his true love? The beauty of this book is that you fall in love with the characters right away. They're beautifully crafted which gives them such depth that you feel as though you know them. Usually, if I begin a book then something happens which means I can't read for a couple of days, i struggle to pick it back up again as have forgotten what has happened, but that wasn't the case with this at all as the characters really get under your skin. The story goes through the lifetime of Dimitri and Tatiana, making them appear so very real that when it came to finishing this book it was like saying goodbye to friends and yes, there was a tear or two... and also a tear or two throughout the story too!As with other books by this author, there is a lot of history intertwined with the present day and this works really well and left me wondering just how much was true and how lots of this story isn't just fiction, that the horrors of the war and revolutions that took place really did happen. It left me thinking a great deal about just how much that has influenced people today yet we often don't give it any thought. What I really liked about Kitty's point of view was how she gave the modern take on it- how the discoveries of today could have made a difference then- the likes of DNA testing, social technology and so forth and I also liked how hearing her discovering the history of her family helped her to understand herself and to draw upon the experiences of the generations before her so although there was a lot of heartache throughout her great grandfather's life, she was able to take positives from it. I didn't want this book to come to an end, what can I read next that will absorb me as much as this?! It is a beautifully written book with so much history, passion and atmosphere that I am going to miss reading it. This is a perfect book for anyone needing escapism but be warned- you will lose many hours' sleep as you keep those pages turning!
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  • Emma Crowley
    August 6, 2016
    Last year I discovered the writing of historical fiction author Gill Paul and fell in love with her book No Place for a Lady. Now she is back with another astounding book that makes it very hard for the reader to put down despite its length you would almost read it in one sitting. The Secret Wife is spectacular in every sense of the word – the overall plot, the scope, the settings, the characters and such detailed research make for a book that will most certainly feature in my favourites when it Last year I discovered the writing of historical fiction author Gill Paul and fell in love with her book No Place for a Lady. Now she is back with another astounding book that makes it very hard for the reader to put down despite its length you would almost read it in one sitting. The Secret Wife is spectacular in every sense of the word – the overall plot, the scope, the settings, the characters and such detailed research make for a book that will most certainly feature in my favourites when it comes to my end of year selection. Gill Paul has taken on a story that nearly 100 hundred years ago proved shocking and left people with a sense of mystery wondering could anyone have survived? The story of the last of the Romanov's in Russia - Tsar Nicholas and his family is forever embedded in history books but here Gill Paul brings it to life once again with such colour and flair and writes what ultimately proves to be one of the most beautiful, devoted yet heartbreaking stories of enduring love that won't fail to have you moved. I loved how Gill put her own slant to the story whilst at the same time never taking away from historical fact, there was a danger the story at one point could have descended into farce just to make it suit readers who love romance and always want full explanations and satisfactory endings but this didn't happen with plain sailing and I felt the author stayed true to the story she wanted to write. At one stage I thought how could things resolves themselves seen as the story has taken such a turn and would it be such a cop out if the reasons for what had happened just appeared all to easy and solvable but it's testament to the brilliant way of words and her ability to develop the story and its characters that when the climax came I was fully invested in it and didn't feel disbelief that this could have happened. It felt realistic and made for a very accomplished novel one in which I felt I had travelled back in time to witness an epic love story which had innumerable obstacles thrown in its path.The Secret Wife is a dual narrative story told in 2016 and beginning back in Russia in 1914 with our main male protagonist Dmitri Malama. In the present day Kitty Fisher is not in a great place having discovered her husband Tom has been unfaithful. She needs to get away from everything to step back, reassess and let her anger out over her situation and decide does she want Tom back or she is better off on her own? As luck would have it the perfect escape has presented itself as Kitty has recently discovered she has inherited a cabin in New York State from her great grandfather. Kitty travels to America to spend a summer renovating the cabin as it has lain unused for over thirty years. Isolated and left to her own devices away from modern technology, except for an odd trip to the local town, Kitty begins to find some comfort and solace and working on the cabin is a form of healing for her. The discovery of a gold pendant with jewels hidden in the grass sparks many questions for Kitty and over the course of the Summer she slowly starts to uncover her interesting family past and discover connections with a time and family she could never have dreamt possible. Normally with a dual narrative storyline I often favour one over the other but in The Secret Wife both elements were as strong as each other and I enjoyed them equally. Gill Paul has done a fine job of mixing the past with the present and I loved how Kitty didn't go off on this mad search hurrying here there and everywhere to uncover all the connections as fast as possible. The story had such a lovely flow to it that the pace of everything to be revealed was just perfect and it was amazing how discovering something that had laid hidden in an old suitcase for many many years could allow Kitty transport herself to the past but also bring redemption and conclusion to the present.The book moves back and forth between Kitty as she spends the Summer by the lake delving into the past and contemplating her personal situation and also the past in Russia as a wonderful love story is told, that of the relationship between Grand Duchess Tatiana and Dmitri. I would have loved to have thought that such a relationship could have been possible in real life but it's great that mixing fact with fiction the author had free rein to let the seed that inspired this book grow through such skillful writing that has you turning the pages as quick as you can to uncover all the elements of the mystery and why secrets were kept for so long? Dmitri and Tatiana meet when he is wounded in the first week of the war. Tatiana alongside her sister Olga and her mother Alexandra are nursing wounded soldiers and once Tatiana locks eyes with Dmitri she has fallen, hopelessly, helplessly in love and he reciprocates this. 'She gazed straight into his eyes as she spoke and he felt a jolt, for all the world as if he had been shot by Cupid's arrow. The words of poets through the generations, words he had previously thought trite and clichéd, suddenly made sense to him. He felt deliriously happy and wildly anxious at the same time'. This love although not conventional for the time will last through the horrors of war and no matter what paths their lives may take this relationship will always have a place in the couple's hearts. So much happens with this aspect of the story that you become completely caught up in the lives of the characters and are utterly devastated at the turn of events. Everyone knows the fate of the Romanov family but the spin Gill Paul has put on the story makes for a fascinating, powerful read which indulged my love of history and made for a solid believable love story.As I have mentioned this book is wide in its scope and the author must have undertaken a huge amount of research in order to add such flavour and atmosphere to the story. This could have started to read like a historical non-fiction text but the narrative flows seamlessly amidst the descriptions of the Russian revolution and the over throwing of the Romanov's as the Red and White Army fight for power. I felt like I was there in Russia during such a turbulent time and witnessing the major events unfolding. But I also liked how the further we moved into the novel that we weren't stuck indefinitely in one time period or country as love is never easy and events meant that horror and heartbreak unfolded. We were almost taken on a tour of Europe as Dmitri has to battle with his conscience but also his loyalty to his country and beliefs and his own family. Decisions and actions he takes stay with him for a very long time and he has to live with what happened the further he goes into the later half of his life. As we follow Dimtri in his quest to free the one he loves from house arrest you can't help falling just that little bit in love with him yourself. He is brave, courageous, strong and admirable and his love for Tatiana felt genuine and not just a thing that would disappear the moment times got tough. I loved how he never ever gave up despite the outcome history has shown us. Normally it's the female character who dominates in a book of this nature but here Dmitri really comes to the fore and carries the majority of the book extremely well. I don't usually identify all that much with male characters but he is written in such a way that I found myself really enjoying all he brought to the book although I did miss slightly some more female participation in the later half of the book apart from that of Kitty but that couldn't be helped due to circumstances.The Secret Wife is a story that crosses centuries and multiple events in history that have shaped the position we are presently in in today's society. I don't know how Gill Paul managed to fit so much historical fact into this story without it becoming bogged down and diverting away from the romance as its centre but she did and the most perfect balance was achieved. The reader is taken on an unforgettable journey of a love story that will stay with you for a very long time with such well rounded thought out characters. Each one you care for deeply and there is not one who becomes annoying or detestable apart from the baddies that you are supposed to loathe for what they did. There is a lot of injustice throughout the story and the latter half feels distinctively different from the first and beginning this story you never would have thought it would have taken that direction or gone so far into the future considering it started in 1917.But it didn't feel dragged out at all and in fact I wanted the book just to continue on and on. Yet the ending was apt and didn't feel in the least bit contrived as Gill Paul had weaved such a masterful story full of love, loss,power, resilience and hope. The Secret Wife blends imagination with historical fact to perfection and I wouldn't hesitate to give it five stars. If like me you love the writing of Kate Morton, Dinah Jefferies or Lucinda Riley then no question you'll love this book too.
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  • Ana
    August 11, 2016
    Originally posted on This Chick Reads* Copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*Oh god, THIS book! Just so many feels!The Secret Wife is a book that made me realize two things:1) I really should read more historical fiction, and2) I MUST check Gill Paul's previous books as I TOTALLY loved this one!The Secret Wife is one of these beautifully written, exceptional books you just don't know how to review. I love it so much I fear no matter what I say it won't do the book justice. Originally posted on This Chick Reads* Copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*Oh god, THIS book! Just so many feels!The Secret Wife is a book that made me realize two things:1) I really should read more historical fiction, and2) I MUST check Gill Paul's previous books as I TOTALLY loved this one!The Secret Wife is one of these beautifully written, exceptional books you just don't know how to review. I love it so much I fear no matter what I say it won't do the book justice. But I'm willing to try anyway.The Secret Wife is a wonderful historical novel with plot that spans for a bit over a century. Going back and forth, from 1914 to 2016, and traveling different locations (Russia to America) we follow two stories. The first story is about the famous family of Romanovs, their rise and fall on the night of 16/17 July 1917. Through the love story of Tatiana (the second of the duchesses) and Dmitri Malama (a Russian soldier) we follow the life of the Romanovs in a very turbulent Russia. Tatiana and Dmitri meet after he's been shot and brought to the hospital, where Tatiana and her older sister, Olga are helping out as nurses. From the moment they meet, they feel an instant chemistry between them. Now I have to say that after reading about 20% of the book I immediately had to check (advise google) about how much of the historical facts were interwoven in Gill's story. And you should have seen my surprise when I did find a picture of Tatiana and Malama online (wikipedia) which only made this story even more enjoyable and amazing. Fast forward 100 years and we meet Kitty who's having a bit of a rough time in her relationship and finds out she's inherited a cabin on the shores of Lake Akanabee. The cabin seems like the perfect place to hide and heal and she's off from London to America on what will surely be a surprising adventure. What is the connection between Kitty and Tatiana or Dmitri? As you continue to read you'll see the link and feel the romance of Tatiana and Dmitri unfolding before your eyes.There's so many things about this book which make it a must read. The past and present are beautifully blended, as well as fiction with the historical facts. To be honest, I haven't read that many books on one of the most famous Russian families, but this book did feel like a short course on that historical period. Gill's writing is so beautiful I was in awe of her talent and knack for keeping me totally engrossed in the story. As you can see, it's not a short book, on the contrary there's quite a bit of pages, but I swear I've never read a book faster. In a way, The Secret Wife reminded me of the great Russian Classics, but not because of the topic it exploits. Strong feelings of undying love, that great love that inspires and doesn't leave you to rest, even feelings of melancholy, they're all perfectly blended making this book a true masterpiece.As I was reading about Dmitri's numerous attempts to free Tatiana and his hope to one day be reunited, I couldn't help but feel goosebumps. I won't lie, there were parts that brought a tear to my eye and got me so emotional I had to put the book down and calm down. Yes, this is one of these books you'd be crazy not to read and it's also one of these books I can't imagine anyone not loving. It's that brilliant! Wonderful, emotional and exceptionally written, The Secret Wife is definitely one of the best books I've ever read and easiest 5* I've ever given.
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  • Anne
    August 4, 2016
    Until I read and reviewed The Four Sisters by Helen Rappaport back in July 2014, I knew almost nothing about Russian history and the Romanovs. That book really sparked my interest, and I have since watched some TV programmes about them.The Secret Wife is Gill Paul's fictionalised story of what could have happened to Grand Duchess Tatiana and cavalry officer Dmitri Malama if they had lived. There are people who say that authors should not base fiction on actual people, or events. I guess that his Until I read and reviewed The Four Sisters by Helen Rappaport back in July 2014, I knew almost nothing about Russian history and the Romanovs. That book really sparked my interest, and I have since watched some TV programmes about them.The Secret Wife is Gill Paul's fictionalised story of what could have happened to Grand Duchess Tatiana and cavalry officer Dmitri Malama if they had lived. There are people who say that authors should not base fiction on actual people, or events. I guess that historians could be annoyed by this, but come on people, the author clearly states in her notes that The Secret Wife is fiction.She tells her readers that it is entirely a 'what if' situation, and my thoughts are that if the likes of Stephen King can manipulate history in his novel 11.22.63 (WHAT IF you could go back in time and change the course of history? WHAT IF the watershed moment you could change was the JFK assassination?), then I don't see why other authors shouldn't do so too. Gill Paul has created a wonderful story here, she's obviously meticulously researched her subject and The Secret Wife has absolutely captivated me from the first paragraph, right through to the very last word. The Secret Wife is a novel told in two parts, in two eras, by two very different narrators and opens in 2016 on the shores of Lake Akanabee in New York State. Kitty Fisher is a young English woman who has fled across the ocean after discovering that her husband has betrayed her. She recently discovered that she was the sole beneficiary to the estate of Dmitri Yakovlevich - her great-grandfather - a man that she didn't even know existed, and had never been told about. Part of the estate included a run-down log cabin by Lake Akanabee, and it seemed a natural place for Kitty to hide out whilst she examines her feelings for her husband Tom.The story then goes back to Tsarskoe Selo in Russia, during the first world war and cavalry officer Dmitri Malama has been wounded in battle. He is recovering in hospital, and it is here that he meets the Grand Duchess Tatiana, daughter of Tsar Nicholas II.This is a sweeping story that encompasses the horrors of World War I, the torture and murder of the Romanovs, carries on through World War II and beyond. The author vividly conjures the sights and sounds of Russia during that period, creating characters that are vibrant and realistic and weaving a passionate story of love, grief, betrayal and heartbreak.Kitty's 2016 story is just as compelling as she slowly uncovers her family history, a history that she had no idea about and that startles and compels her.I was totally swept up by this fabulously written story, from the trenches of war, through to the modern-day New York state setting, it really is a complete joy to read. The snippets from history are fascinating and the author's imagining of what could have happened to the lead characters if their lives had gone down a different path is beautifully imagined, and certainly leaves a lot to think about.I have read most of Gill Paul's novels and have to say that for me, The Secret Wife is certainly her best to date. I loved it, and will shout about it and recommend it to everyone.http://randomthingsthroughmyletterbox...
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  • Marguerite Kaye
    November 20, 2016
    Oh dear, this is one of those books that everyone seems to love, and that simply didn't work for me. Since I skim-read the vast majority of it, I can't rate it but I'll try to explain why. Basically, I liked the premise, I usually like Richard and Judy recommendations, having just finished Simon Sebag Monefiorie's brilliant Romanovs, I was ready for a time-slip involving one of the grand duchesses. But...Firstly, I simply couldn't buy the premise. Rightly or wrongly, Tatiana seemed all wrong com Oh dear, this is one of those books that everyone seems to love, and that simply didn't work for me. Since I skim-read the vast majority of it, I can't rate it but I'll try to explain why. Basically, I liked the premise, I usually like Richard and Judy recommendations, having just finished Simon Sebag Monefiorie's brilliant Romanovs, I was ready for a time-slip involving one of the grand duchesses. But...Firstly, I simply couldn't buy the premise. Rightly or wrongly, Tatiana seemed all wrong compared to what I've read of her, and she didn't come to life at all in the book. Ms Paul is clearly a huge fan of the history of the period, and she's read masses. It shows, though for me not in a good way. There was way, way too much of the history put in there in a factual and very passive way. For example, lots of details about WWI battles 'read' from newspapers that was pretty unnecessary to the story. And lots of little snippets that were tell don't show - one that comes to mind is the comment about Catherine's dead dogs being buried in a garden. These are the kind of things almost every other reviewer seems to have enjoyed but for me they jarred, they read like the author had so many facts at her fingertips she wanted to put them all in. And although we definitely needed history for context, in my view, we didn't need so many lectures. Next up was the modern character of Kitty. I absolutely loathed the woman. She discovers her husband has been playing away in a horrible way. She confronts her best friend, who knows about it but she then runs away from her and from her husband. She doesn't really seem to care much for her husband, but then she becomes like a dog with a bone - she doesn't want anyone else to have him, so she wants him back. But does she do anything about it? Nope, she just hides, and hides, and hides. And does she really love him - frankly I didn't buy that at all. When finally this part of the story is resolved, Kitty goes back to London, meets up with Tom for a night, they talk about what she's been doing, she decides she's going to be a carpenter - and that's it!!!! No discussion of their relationship, no discussion of the effect each other's behaviour had on the other, just - okay, it's done now, we really love each other, now let's get on. As I said, I skim read much of this, so this might be a complete mis-interpretation, but it's how it came over to me. In a timeslip, one of the conventions is to draw parallels between the front and back story. It's one of the things I really enjoy about the genre, how history teaches us. I didn't feel that it worked in this story. Maybe my expectations were wrong. And finally, something I've already touched on, was the very passive narrative style. Again, I can't find any other reviewers who commented on this, maybe it's just a bugbear with me, but I found it distanced me from all of the characters, and I'm afraid I didn't even empathise with poor Tatiana. I'm a lone voice. Just ignore me, and try this one for yourself.
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  • Daisy
    August 22, 2016
    This a a heartbreaking tale of love, loss, war, discovering a huge family secret, and a lot of history.Kitty finds out she has inherited her great-grandfathers cabin in the Adirondacks. When she discovers her husband is cheating on her she leaves London and travels to New York to find the cabin.Kitty spends the summer making repairs to the cabin and trying to learn about her great-grandfather. What she learns about Dmitri (her great-grandfather) is both incredible and shocking.I did not expect t This a a heartbreaking tale of love, loss, war, discovering a huge family secret, and a lot of history.Kitty finds out she has inherited her great-grandfathers cabin in the Adirondacks. When she discovers her husband is cheating on her she leaves London and travels to New York to find the cabin.Kitty spends the summer making repairs to the cabin and trying to learn about her great-grandfather. What she learns about Dmitri (her great-grandfather) is both incredible and shocking.I did not expect to fall in love with this novel. I found myself rushing through chapters whenever I got a chance to read. I thoroughly enjoyed the historical parts of the book.There were a few twists and turns along the way but the biggest surprise came around the 75% mark. I strongly recommend this book.Thank you Netgalley, the publisher and the author for the ARC of this book for an honest review.
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  • Lesley
    September 10, 2016
    This is a wonderful book. It’s the true story of the romance between Dmitri Malama, a Russian cavalry officer, and Grand Duchess Tatiana of the doomed Romanov family. Gill Paul brilliantly evokes their world. The story had me gripped. I couldn’t stop turning the pages to find out whether and how Dmitri would manage to save his beloved Tatiana from the grisly fate of the Romanovs. There’s also a parallel story - the story of Dmitri’s great granddaughter, Kitty. Paul brilliantly weaves between the This is a wonderful book. It’s the true story of the romance between Dmitri Malama, a Russian cavalry officer, and Grand Duchess Tatiana of the doomed Romanov family. Gill Paul brilliantly evokes their world. The story had me gripped. I couldn’t stop turning the pages to find out whether and how Dmitri would manage to save his beloved Tatiana from the grisly fate of the Romanovs. There’s also a parallel story - the story of Dmitri’s great granddaughter, Kitty. Paul brilliantly weaves between these two stories as Kitty begins to find out who her great grandfather really was. The stories are skilfully interwoven and totally gripping, moving from Kitty’s DIY work on what had been her great grandfather’s cabin in New York State to the upheavals of the Russian Revolution. It’s a very moving and beautifully constructed book and was obviously a labour of love. It’s also very timely, with the centenary of the Russian Revolution coming up followed by the centenary of the execution of the Romanovs. Highly recommended!
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  • Hannah
    August 11, 2016
    This review was originally published on https://hannahreviewingbooks.blogspot...In all honesty I don’t tend to read historical fiction but really couldn’t resist the sound of The Secret Wife by Gill Paul. This is an absolutely breathtaking novel that was beautifully written from beginning to end. I’d go so far as to say that this is the best book I’ve read all year and all I can hope is that this review will do this incredible book the justice it fully deserves. The Secret Wife is a novel that i This review was originally published on https://hannahreviewingbooks.blogspot...In all honesty I don’t tend to read historical fiction but really couldn’t resist the sound of The Secret Wife by Gill Paul. This is an absolutely breathtaking novel that was beautifully written from beginning to end. I’d go so far as to say that this is the best book I’ve read all year and all I can hope is that this review will do this incredible book the justice it fully deserves. The Secret Wife is a novel that is told to us via a dual narrative, the first taking place in the modern day and the second told between 1914 and 1986. In September 1914 we meet Dmitri Malama in Russia who has been badly injured during the war. One day, Grand Duchess Tatiana arrives at his bedside who is not only a nurse at the hospital but also a member of the Romanov family. It doesn’t take long for the pair to realise that they have feelings for eachother and through their love story which spans decades we follow the lives of the Romanovs in Russia and beyond. Meanwhile, almost 100 years after Dmitri’s story starts, we meet Kitty in 2016. Experiencing difficulties in her own relationship she learns that she’s inherited a cabin near Lake Akanabee. Deciding to leave London far behind and travel over to America to locate the cabin it’s not long before she starts to uncover the secrets that lie behind it. How is both it and she herself connected to Dmitri and Tatiana? Normally what I find with novels that are told via dual narratives is that I prefer one more than I do the other. However that was absolutely not the case with this tale as both narratives were so strong and both equally gripping. This was probably why I managed to fly through this novel in under 24 hours - I was eager to find out what would happen next for Dmitri and Tatiana and wanted to see what Kitty would discover next about the cabin and her own history. It really was compelling. I went into The Secret Wife with very little idea of what to expect and very little knowledge/understanding of the era in which this novel was set and particularly the Romanov family. However, I found the whole thing to be truly fascinating and feel that it was an incredible learning experience. When I think of historical fiction I tend to think of something that is complex, in-depth and difficult to understand which is probably why I don’t read very much of the genre. Gill Paul proved that this is most definitely not the case, having created something that was so easy to both read and become immersed in to the point I lost all track of time and thought of little else whilst I was reading it. The Secret Wife was a sensational masterpiece that I could not get enough of. I highly recommend this book to absolutely anyone and everyone and just know that I will be catching up on Gill’s previous books very soon. This is a book that you do not want to miss under any circumstances.
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  • Joanne
    August 24, 2016
    This is a book which had me totally enthralled. The Secret Wife draws on historical facts to weave a wonderful love story. Gill Paul has imagined what might have happened if one of the Russian Romanov family escaped the slaughter in 1918 and lived the rest of their life quietly and secretly. Tatiana was one of the Romanov daughters and in her surviving journals mentioned an officer, Dmitri Malama. By the way she writes of him, she was clearly very fond of him and her mother, Tsarina Alexandra, w This is a book which had me totally enthralled. The Secret Wife draws on historical facts to weave a wonderful love story. Gill Paul has imagined what might have happened if one of the Russian Romanov family escaped the slaughter in 1918 and lived the rest of their life quietly and secretly. Tatiana was one of the Romanov daughters and in her surviving journals mentioned an officer, Dmitri Malama. By the way she writes of him, she was clearly very fond of him and her mother, Tsarina Alexandra, wrote that "he would make an excellent son-in-law'". Inspired by their possible romance, Gill Paul has written an epic tale of their love and how Tatiana might have been spared death. In the book she imagines that the lovers were separated after the Bolshevik revolution, neither knowing if the other was alive but both still loving each other deeply. In the present day, Kitty has inherited a cabin in the American wilderness from a great grandfather she had never heard of and begins to investigate his mysterious past.I genuinely could not put this book down and read it over the course of a couple of days. I was totally captivated by the love affair between Dmitri and Tatiana and how they continued to love each other against the odds. I didn't know much about the Romanov family except that they had been murdered and that there had been much speculation afterwards about whether any of them could have escaped. Gill Paul worked the historical facts effortlessly into her narrative so that I felt I learned a lot about the Russia of this era while reading. Initially, Kitty in the present day didn't seem to have as much a part in the story but gradually her life and her investigation started to take a more prominent role as she uncovers more through her research into her mysterious great grandfather. She had gone to America following a betrayal at home and felt she needed to be completely alone to process her feelings. Discovering her great grandfather's story helped her come to terms with her own life.The Secret Wife is a book which has clearly been very well researched, giving such an evocative picture of time and place and of what life in Russia was like during WW1. It is beautifully written with characters who feel completely real, whether they are fictional or have their basis in a historical figure. The emotional story is romantic and exciting, moving and tragic, and ultimately satisfying. The kind of satisfying which may leave you with a lump in your throat.
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  • Maryline M's Bookshelf
    August 27, 2016
    This review was first published at M's Bookshelf - http://mssbookshelf.blogspot.comBoth the cover and blurb immediately drew me to this book. Although I must add to this that the history element of this story outweighed the present day story-line for me, and I therefore would have loved to see a cover that hinted to that part of the book. But what a stunning, gorgeous read The Secret Wife is! One of history's most fascinating families, forever surrounded by mystery and legend, is the Romanov fam This review was first published at M's Bookshelf - http://mssbookshelf.blogspot.comBoth the cover and blurb immediately drew me to this book. Although I must add to this that the history element of this story outweighed the present day story-line for me, and I therefore would have loved to see a cover that hinted to that part of the book. But what a stunning, gorgeous read The Secret Wife is! One of history's most fascinating families, forever surrounded by mystery and legend, is the Romanov family. I for one have been fascinated by them since the animation movie Anastasia, and Gill Paul only intensified my interest in this piece of history. I also love that The Secret Wife focuses on Tatiana, instead of Anastasia or Alexei - the more obvious choices for a Romanov-novel.With The Secret Wife being an historical novel based on actual events and people, knowing the course of history did ofcourse influence the reading experience. But for some reason I think knowing part of the outcome made me even more addicted to this story.The character's emotions were so tangible I couldn't put the book down and even when I wasn't reading, the story still played on my mind. I very much preferred the first half of the story (the "Russian" part), but when all the pieces of the puzzle started falling into place near the end of the book, I had shivers and goosebumps all over. Only when the story ended I realized that I still hadn't been able to step away from this book.I didn't feel as strong a connection to the part of the story set in the present day, but even Kitty's devotion - both to the cabin and uncovering the past - was therapeutic and addictive in some way.The perfect conclusion to this stunning read, to me, was the historical afterword.
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  • Louise Beech
    April 25, 2016
    For two weeks Gill Paul has had my heart. After falling in love with the characters and beautiful writing in Women and Children First I was beyond excited when I got my copy of The Secret Wife. This huge story spans generations, joining present day Lake Akanabee, New York State with 1914 Russia, both world wars, and much more. At it's heart is the pulsating love story between Cavalry Officer Dimiti and Duchess Tatiana, who are torn apart on an infamous evening in Russian history. We learn their For two weeks Gill Paul has had my heart. After falling in love with the characters and beautiful writing in Women and Children First I was beyond excited when I got my copy of The Secret Wife. This huge story spans generations, joining present day Lake Akanabee, New York State with 1914 Russia, both world wars, and much more. At it's heart is the pulsating love story between Cavalry Officer Dimiti and Duchess Tatiana, who are torn apart on an infamous evening in Russian history. We learn their tale along with modern-day Kitty, who has escaped from London to a haunted, mystery-filled cabin in the US after a betrayal. To cope, she rebuilds the cabin, discovers its secrets and those of a long gone ancestor. Gorgeously told in lyrical language, with warm, real and absorbing characters, this book is one I will read again, and therefore likely not lend to a soul! They will have buy their own! This was just magical. At the last line, tears rolled down my cheeks. Highly recommended.
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  • RoseMary Achey
    February 8, 2017
    In the same style as Kate Morton and Susanna Kearsley author Gill Paul has written a dual-time story that you can truly savor! The historical story was my favorite, richly woven and focused on the Romanov family during the Bolshevik revolution it is a novel of undying love in spite of incredible odds.
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  • Robbi Freeman
    December 17, 2016
    This is a hard review because I have read so many novels on the Romanov family. The first of the book felt all like review of the family and then their captivity. But of course one of them makes it out alive to make this book and I was happy it wasn't Anastasia. The other side of the book is about Kitty a great grandchild who inherits money from her great grandfather she never knew about. Also her husband Tom cheats on her so she runs to America for 3 months to live in an old cabin on a lake tha This is a hard review because I have read so many novels on the Romanov family. The first of the book felt all like review of the family and then their captivity. But of course one of them makes it out alive to make this book and I was happy it wasn't Anastasia. The other side of the book is about Kitty a great grandchild who inherits money from her great grandfather she never knew about. Also her husband Tom cheats on her so she runs to America for 3 months to live in an old cabin on a lake that this grandfather left her. The entire story was written from the past and now with the reader knowing what happened to Kitty's Great Grandfather and her investigating it. It felt awkward at times. I was also not impressed with Kitty and Tom's story. The author never really writes much about her and Tom's history. They could have been left out entirely and it wouldn't have hurt the book. I still think some would enjoy this book especially if they haven't read about the Romanov's story.
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  • Gail Atkins
    August 8, 2016
    I received ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.I loved this book from start to finish. It was not a normal love story. Throughout the book we were travelling back to Russia during the revolution to the modern day, passing through other decades. The characters were real and they made the book extra special.The book contained both fact and fiction: it left me wanting to know more.
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  • Cristina
    January 28, 2017
    This book just didn't work, and it's a shame because there was some real potential here. I think the author had a good story to tell but went with an overly ambitious back-and-forth-in-time narrative. It was just like so many other stories, predictable.
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  • Kay
    March 24, 2017
    Loved this book - I was sad when I finished. I have always been intrigued by the story of the Romanovs and their tragic and mysterious demise, and this book was about Tatiana, not the usual Anastasia. As in so many newer books, the story goes back and forth between the present day and a time in history. This author did it particularly well and I found that I enjoyed both related story lines equally. Perfect historical fiction.
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  • Kate
    February 16, 2017
    This book was VERY slow and boring for probably the first half. I couldn't figure out why people rated it so highly because the writing, character development, and plot were dull. Then it picked up and held my interest. The story is an interesting "what if?" piece of faction, and I enjoyed it for what it is. Is it a phenomenal, life-changing piece of literature that will stand the test of time? I don't think so. But it was a unique love story!
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  • Burke5678
    January 29, 2017
    This was a very good book, exciting and would recommend this book
  • Patricia Peck
    March 21, 2017
    I never wanted this book to end. I can't wait to see if I can find the series on Netflix's about the Romanov family. Totally enjoyed this book!
  • Emily Ballantine
    March 20, 2017
    Absolutely incredible!
  • Jo-Anne
    March 14, 2017
    The structure of two story lines building towards a merger was well done in this novel. I typically enjoy historical fiction and I found the story compelling and actually enjoyed the context and explanation provided by the author in the Historical Afterword; it was very interesting. Occasionally, I found the character of Dmitri and his moods a bit too dramatic but overall it was an enjoyable read. Reading this makes me want to re-read Massie's Nicholas & Alexandra.
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  • Chrstina Scholtz
    February 26, 2017
    Kitty finds that her husband is having an affair and unable to deal with this reality sets off to America where her she's just inherited a cabin from a great grandfather she did not know she had.There she finds a curious old jewel and starts researching her mysterious ancestor with shocking results.During the first world war a Russian soldier Dimitri Malama is in hospital where he is treated by the Grand Duchess Tatiana Romanov working as a volunteer, they fall in love and secretly marry. He's c Kitty finds that her husband is having an affair and unable to deal with this reality sets off to America where her she's just inherited a cabin from a great grandfather she did not know she had.There she finds a curious old jewel and starts researching her mysterious ancestor with shocking results.During the first world war a Russian soldier Dimitri Malama is in hospital where he is treated by the Grand Duchess Tatiana Romanov working as a volunteer, they fall in love and secretly marry. He's character is based on a real person with some very real evidence that he had a love affair with Tatiana and is it very possible that if history was different they may have been allowed to marry, however, after word spreads of the Romanov family's death, Dimitri loses heart and is killed during the Bolshevik fighting in 1919.Of course we all know what happened with the Romanov family. This book tells a "what if" story. What if Tatiana somehow survived the slaughter of her family. What if Dimitri was able to save her. What would have become of them.Romance novels is not my thing, but this love story is so sad, so tragic but also so real. It never feels forced or over the top. There are some special happy moments, but the characters make some real, rash decisions that affect them and those around them years later.I love Historical Fiction though, and this book is a fantastic example why.
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  • Cath AY
    February 27, 2017
    Love historical fiction! You are learning history in a fun way! It prompts you to learn more about that time period. Gill Paul's imagination is wonderful. She weaves a very interesting story with one foot in the present and the other in the past.I knew nothing about this time period in Russia. After reading the book, I will start to research a little more. Great character development. This book makes you think about some moral issues, too. What would I do if I was in that situation? Can you love Love historical fiction! You are learning history in a fun way! It prompts you to learn more about that time period. Gill Paul's imagination is wonderful. She weaves a very interesting story with one foot in the present and the other in the past.I knew nothing about this time period in Russia. After reading the book, I will start to research a little more. Great character development. This book makes you think about some moral issues, too. What would I do if I was in that situation? Can you love 2 different people at the same time? Reminds us that everyone has a story and we should not be so quick to judge. Admittedly, some things are cliche but overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book!
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