1914 Russia, Dmitri Malma is in a military hospital in St Petersburgh after being injured on the front line. Whilst there he meets and falls in love with Grand Duchess Tatiana, the second eldest daughter of Tsar Nicholas, who is working as a nurse with her mother Tsarina Alexandria and older sister Olga. Romance blossoms quickly but with the start of the Revoltion events take a catastrophic turn for the worse. Dimitri is called back to the front line and Tatiana and her family are placed under house arrest.
2016 Dmitri’s great granddaughter Kitty Fisher finds herself on a plane to America after finding out that her husband has had an affair. Kitty decides to go to the cabin left to her by her great grandfather on the shores of Lake Akanabee. Whilst there she finds an oval pendant, encrusted with jewels, which leads her to find out about the mysterious Dmitri and the secret that has been buried for nearly 100 years.
This book is in one of my favourite genres, with the dual storylines, one historical and one contemporary. The Romanov’s and their history is a topic used by many authors in their novels due to the mystery surrounding the events of their death. I liked the fact that Gill Paul chose Tatiana as the main protagonist rather than Anastasia who most authors choose. The story of Tatiana and Dmitri is based on fact as Tatiana did fall in love with a cavalry officer called Dmitri and there was talk of a marriage between them after the war.
This is a beautifully written novel with lots of historical detail. The prose flows smoothly between both timelines, and really pulls the reader into the story. The characters are engaging with a versmilitude about them, you really care what happens to them. This is a very haunting and intelligent novel that will draw on all your emotions, be prepared to be consumed in this beautiful romantic, yet tragic story.