The Secret Daughter of the Tsar
Jennifer Laam
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Buy *The Secret Daughter of the Tsar* by Jennifer Laamonline

The Secret Daughter of the Tsar
Jennifer Laam
St. Martin's Griffin
352 pages
October 2013
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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The Secret Daughter of the Tsar is a fascinating spin on the well-worn plot premise, “What if a Romanov made it out of the basement alive?” Author Jennifer Laam weaves an intricate yet plausible fresh take by suggesting that the supposed hysterical pregnancy of legend actually bore yet another daughter between Little Nicky and Anastasia.

Another disappointing daughter in that misogynistic society could have sparked a desperate scramble to spirit the child away to safety to prevent not only her murder but also her parents. Considering the ultimate fate of Nicholas, Alexandra, their children and servants, this plot choice is brilliant. Laam paints a heartrending portrait not only of Alexandra desolate at the supposed stillbirth but also the Grand Duchess Marie, reduced to a tearful grandmother determined to save her granddaughter.

Subplots and micro subplots add pathos and passion to provide something for everyone in this hypothetical historical novel. Judicious use of time travel advances the story without the jarring effects of most writers using this plotting technique. Laam’s attention to detail and obvious copious research sends readers on a time trip through her deftly woven plot. She switches effortlessly from present day to Nazi Europe to the end of Tsarist Russia in a breathless ride to advance an easy-to-follow yet still surprising plot. The author uses dialogue to show how emotions change the observation of usual social distinctions, as well as to drop hints throughout the plot before finally revealing the complete story.

The Secret Daughter of the Tsar is a fascinating peek into a forgotten world that makes you wish history had turned out this way. That is the highest compliment you can pay an historical novel.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Karri Watson, 2015

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