Enchantments

Enchantments

A Novel

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
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A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE 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.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2012
Edition: 1st ed. --
ISBN: 9781400063475
1400063477
Branch Call Number: FIC Harri
Characteristics: xii, 314 p

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sjmwdc
Jan 29, 2016

I loved this book. I loved the way the author leap back and forth in time with revealing (if fictional) stories and memories of her main character and and the fascinating crew of characters whose fates swirl around her. It was a great sequel to Robert Alexander's "Rasputin's Daughter."

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walkermom
Aug 10, 2012

good novel, but I would have enjoyed it more if I did not have some previous knowledge of Russian history.

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steph_peregrine
Jun 22, 2012

From the description, you'd think this would be an exciting historical fiction novel about the fall of the Romanovs, but pay close attention to the part about Masha and Aloysha sitting under house arrest and telling each other stories, because that is ALL that happens. It was tediously slow and repetitive and I found it a struggle to get to the minimal payoff at the end. I wouldn't bother reading this one.

ohtethys Apr 03, 2012

At times I found the prose a little slow-moving but the descriptions of Russia at the time, the destitution of the poor contrasted with the opulence of Romanovs, are detailed and so well-written. The real strength of the book is in the characters...especially Rasputin and the Romanovs. If you love historical fiction, you'll be pleased with this book.

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