Thursday, March 19, 2009

Review of the Day: Rasputin's Daughter

Rasputin's Daughter by Robert Alexander is the fictionalized tale of Rasputin's last week, as told by his daughter. While some historical novels based on real events and using real people as characters can really bring the history to life, this story seemed overly emotional and overly simplified. Alexander did a pretty good job of weaving in historical information in a way that did not seem too forced or clunky, but he did it at the expense of detail. For example, even the Russian Revolution gets short shrift, leaving more space for for the banal romance between the narrator daughter and a mysterious soldier. Rasputin was a notorious figure in an era of dramatic upheaval. But despite copious research into his subject matter, Alexander does not tap into the rich vein of narrative ore available to him. The most interesting part of the book was the afterward explaining what happened to the real people after the events depicted in the novel. But for that sort of information and more, it would be better to read a good biography, such as Rasputin: The Saint Who Sinned by Brian Moynahan, or the source materials Alexander used, much of which can be found in The Rasputin File by Edvard Radzinsky.

5 comments :

bermudaonion said...

This sounds like it has a lot of potential - too bad it didn't come together well.

Lezlie said...

This was by far my least favorite of Alexander's books. I was very disappointed in this one as, like Bermudaonion says, it had so much potential. The Kitchen Boy was much, much better, and I *loved* The Romanov Bride.

Lezlie

Nicole said...

The title had already reeled me in since Rasputin is someone I don't know much about and I would like to learn more. I guess it just won't be here.

Mrs. C said...

The 2 books by Radzinsky - are really the best source. The Moynahan book contains a lot of the myth and gossip of the time, as do most others. And then there are two books by Rasputin's older daughter, Marya, which are probably the most intimate and knowledgeable account of his life.

Rose City Reader said...

It sounds like I might have to give Alexander's other books a try some day. I won't write him off completely.

Mrs. C -- thanks for the tips ont he other Rasputin books. Good stuff.

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