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While I was in college, I got to see the Nicholas and Alexandra Exhibition in Wilmington, DE that included, among other things, lots of jewels, a wealth of photos, and the blood stained and bullet riddled wall where the royal family was executed It was a sight I wasn t prepared for, and made for me the tragedy of the Romanovs uncomfortably real Since then, I ve been taken with fiction about that doomed family, in search of a novel that balances the silly excess of the Romanovs with a humane te While I was in college, I got to see the Nicholas and Alexandra Exhibition in Wilmington, DE that included, among other things, lots of jewels, a wealth of photos, and the blood stained and bullet riddled wall where the royal family was executed It was a sight I wasn t prepared for, and made for me the tragedy of the Romanovs uncomfortably real Since then, I ve been taken with fiction about that doomed family, in search of a novel that balances the silly excess of the Romanovs with a humane telling of their sad last days.I got that in spades with this novel, as well as a unique portrait of a historical figure I d no knowledge about Rasputin s daughter Maria Rasputina, called Masha in this novel, is taken in by the Romanovs after her father s murder The Tsarina Alexandra, convinced that Rasputin s healing abilities have passed on to her, brings Masha to Tsarskoe Selo, the royal palace a Russian Versailles, essentially so that Masha can heal Tsarevich Alexei called Aloysha in this novel Masha, a teenager with a spotty education from a girl s school in St Petersburg who loves her father but finds court life baffling, immediately connects with the young tsarevich and becomes his confidante and friend She enchants the hemophiliac prince, Aloysha, with her stories of life beyond the Tsar s compound, a world he can t see for risk of injuring himself But Masha enchanted me as well, not just with her stories but for her account of the Romanovs Harrison made horrifically real for me the pain that comes with hemophilia Masha s eyewitness accounts of Aloysha s agony had my heart pounding with pity and fear Harrison s writing is just stunning pretty and poetic without being ornate or obscure, providing context and setting without making me feel like I was at the beginning of a lecture And I say this as someone who loves really academic y histfic The chilly lead up to the Romanov s end had me on the edge of my seat the scene with the former Tsar methodically chopping down his beloved poplars was weirdly frightening, given how banal the action was and Harrison gives her teenaged narrator a realistic mix of cynicism and innocence A girl with Rasputin as a father knowsabout the world than she should, and yet Masha waits with uneasy uncertainty about her future.The story doesn t end with the Romanovs, but I don t want to sayI was unfamiliar with the lives of Rasputin s daughters so a great deal of the pleasure of this novel came from learning about them through Harrison This is a story of a young girl who lives a thousand lives in one lifetime, shaped by a father who was brilliant, mad, pious, dissolute, and charismatic At the end, I felt like I knew Masha, and closing the book, I missed her voice already Read This Review More Like It On My Blog You may not know Matryona Grigorievna by her first two names, but you will recognize her last, infamous name Rasputina The daughter of either Russia s most famous eccentric and healer or her most prolific sham, depending on who is asked, Masha s unique and by turns sad, very strange and moving story of life after her father s abrupt and excessively violent murder is a sure to please strong female character powered novel Enchantments was exactly wha Read This Review More Like It On My Blog You may not know Matryona Grigorievna by her first two names, but you will recognize her last, infamous name Rasputina The daughter of either Russia s most famous eccentric and healer or her most prolific sham, depending on who is asked, Masha s unique and by turns sad, very strange and moving story of life after her father s abrupt and excessively violent murder is a sure to please strong female character powered novel Enchantments was exactly what I wanted from another Russian historical fiction set about the same time The Last Romanov and didn t get a fresh, compelling point of view, set during a popular and dangerous time period the fall of the Romanov dynasty , a slight hint of romance that doesn t overpower character and or plot development and hopefully amply furnished with enough accuracy to keep the tension high and the audiences interest consistently piqued Veteran author Kathryn Harrison gracefully executes all these disparate parts to their utmost, with clear and tactile imagery and compelling prose This is a darker novel in tone, for obvious and unavoidable reasons, but the intensity of the setting, the crackling tension and the characters desperation make for a moderately fast read.I enjoyed almost everything there was to Enchantments I did find the plot a bit lacking in some extended areas, but this is a novel that is carried by the strength of its cast Harrison has a dab hand for foreshadowing There are those people who cannot be transplanted from one age to the next , incrementally building up tension, and in setting up crucial, expected scenes without veering into predictability Though the fate of the Romanov family is well known, Harrison makes their years long journey to the House of Special Purpose compelling and touching The unique POV perspective distinguishes this novel, as does the fact that Enchantments isconcerned about tsarevich Alexei s final days than either his brood of sisters or his parents This is one of those historical fiction novels that makes a reader want to knowabout the source material As a ardent history major and freak, I was already well versed in a lot of Romanov and Bolshevik Revolution lore, but Harrison s thoroughly developed and rounded versions of these real, flawed people reignited a previous cultural fascination with Russia and her Imperial family I was Googling away on a vast array of subjects, people and events that had impact on this story.As I intimated earlier, it really is the characters that make this particular so compulsively readable While Harrison sticks to facts for the bulk of her work, Masha s romantic entanglement with young Alexei provides a light spot in an overwhelming sad life I appreciate the light hand used for the relationship it felt natural and right for both characters, while not overpowering thedramatic and worldly plotlines of the novel The author also avoids the issue of characterizing Rasputin outside of his role as a doting father while his life obviously impacts his daughters, Harrison never takes a side in the debate about his role as healer or heretic Masha, obviously, believes in the power of her mystic father, and her belief is compelling but not convincing Worshiped by some, reviled by others, but only truly understood by his devoted eldest daughter, Rasputin s magnetic pull is in evidence largely in absentia and its continued affect on Masha s life after his death.To get a bit less positive about the novel, I will say that I found the shifts between the past and the present to be a bit disorientating The flashbacks themselves are well timed and chock full of historical detail and data without weighing down the overall plot and increasing intensity Even when the expected end comes for Alexei, OTMA and the Imperial pair, Masha s dispassionate voice manages to convey her deep sorrow while keeping her emotional distance I found the last part of the novel with Masha apart from the Romanovs lacked the dynamic of the previous chapters I struggled slightly through the later, introspection heavy pages devoid of interaction with the other players But despite those few issues, there isn t much to malign here in Enchantments.The unique, fresh approach of Rasputin s daughter, the finely and intricately drawn backdrop of Imperialist Russia, the wonderfully realized characters all made for a great historical fiction novel People now tend to view Rasputin with the benefit of hindsight, often confusing the man with whatever he did or did not to to aid the downfall of the Tsars Kathryn Harrison s Enchantments, through the eyes and ideas of his tale spinning daughter, is singular in that it shows Russia s Mad Monk as a person, as a dad even, to great effect Every choice Masha makes is influenced by her father and his desires for her and reading her life story as imagined by this author is a nice piece of historical escapism Rasputin Live I haven t read Harrison in years though I enjoyed her earlier works Reading Enchantments felt like a homecoming I m shocked to see other reviewers didn t like it as much as I did Harrison s writing is top notch There were two or three chapters I marked to go back and read again because her prose is so beautiful As usual Harrison s prose is highly sensual and often lush In this book Harrison uses some well known historic facts surrounding the killing of the Romanovs as a ste Rasputin Live I haven t read Harrison in years though I enjoyed her earlier works Reading Enchantments felt like a homecoming I m shocked to see other reviewers didn t like it as much as I did Harrison s writing is top notch There were two or three chapters I marked to go back and read again because her prose is so beautiful As usual Harrison s prose is highly sensual and often lush In this book Harrison uses some well known historic facts surrounding the killing of the Romanovs as a stepping off point Her imaginations of the interior life of the Romanovs and Father Grigory s Rasputin families are mostly pure fiction The emotions and interactions seem real though The story is told from Grigory s oldest daughter Masha s view point She and the Tsarevich Aloysha spend lots of time together when Masha and her sister and Aloysha s family are held hostage in the Romanov s palace To entertain the ailing prince she spins tale after tale mostly with Aloysha or her father as the main characters The loveliest stories are the ones about Grigory s encounters with divine beings and the messages they give him The entire book is a fanciful concoction but the emotions seem down to earth Reading Enchantments makes me realize how much I ve missed Harrison and that I need to go read the books I ve missed I read about 60 pages of this book and then gave up I love love love Romanov stories, but this one is terrible.The author writes in a meandering tone and shifts the setting of what s currently going on without warning At one point you re reading the narrator s thoughts, then she randomly goes back in time, and then we re back in the present There are no signifiers that this is happening, and it is really wearing.I agree with the other reviewers who said the author tries much too hard to be l I read about 60 pages of this book and then gave up I love love love Romanov stories, but this one is terrible.The author writes in a meandering tone and shifts the setting of what s currently going on without warning At one point you re reading the narrator s thoughts, then she randomly goes back in time, and then we re back in the present There are no signifiers that this is happening, and it is really wearing.I agree with the other reviewers who said the author tries much too hard to be literary, writing in flowy language that s supposed to impress us I can think of a multitude of other books that the author manages to write in a literary, descriptive fashion, yet keeps me very interested See Alex George s A Good American The other problem with this book is that, 60 pages in, I realized I had no idea where the plot was going It was just 60 pages ofnothing happening Occasionally Masha would talk to Alexei, but it was so sudden and they were best friends, and we had no clue how that happened I looked to the book jacket again to inform me of where this plot was supposed to be going, but literally all the book jacket says is that Masha entertains Alexei with imaginative stories Well, if that s all I m supposed to be reading for 300 pages, I m good, no thank you I like a little plot to my novels Further, in those 60 pages I read, I don t think she told him one story The Romanovs have their own special cottage industry in historical fiction The romances, the revolution, the eggs, the hemophilia, the assignations, WWI, Anastasia and Rasputin have all combined to make the Romanovs the most fictionalized royals this side of the Tudors So you have to figure that a writer must have a powerful love for those families and or feel as though they have something new to bring to the already existing legends in order to pen another 80,000 words on them Is this why Ka The Romanovs have their own special cottage industry in historical fiction The romances, the revolution, the eggs, the hemophilia, the assignations, WWI, Anastasia and Rasputin have all combined to make the Romanovs the most fictionalized royals this side of the Tudors So you have to figure that a writer must have a powerful love for those families and or feel as though they have something new to bring to the already existing legends in order to pen another 80,000 words on them Is this why Kathryn Harrison wrote Enchantments Is she fascinated by the Romanovs Does she have some new insight or fact to bring to their history Enchantments is a sort of sideways novel about the Romanovs The star is Masha, one of Rasputin s daughters In 1917 after a few unsuccessful attempts Rasputin was finally assassinated Masha and her sister Varya had been living with their Father in St Petersburg at the time and after his death they are sent to live with the royal family Tsarina Alexandra wants to convince herself that Masha has inherited her father s healing abilities and to that end she has the girl spend her days with her hemophiliac son, Prince Alexei.Masha plays Scheherazade for Alexei She enthralls him with stories Enchantments is all about stories The kinds of stories a government tells, the stories that make up your past, the stories you tell yourself in order to go on and the stories that make up popular opinion they are all here In time Masha and Alexei even make up stories about how they will escape to Chicago and marry It will be their happy ending That Harrison has chosen Masha as her conduit is interesting in that it creates a different perspective on the Romanovs compared to the many, many other novels about them Intellectually Masha is a compelling character She s the favorite daughter of one of the most controversial figures ever It s Rasputin for crying out loud , on the cusp of womanhood, afraid of having inherited her Father s sexual appetites and living with a deposed royal family in a country undergoing a revolution that is a list of dramatic fodder the likes of which authors rarely have at their fingertips and yet the novel is lifeless Even the inclusion of surprise sexual games and denials does not add any passion to this novel Enchantments is imaginative, filled with intriguing historical detail and the wonderful writing you expect from Kathryn Harrison but it never takes off Maybe all those stories defeat the inherent drama of Romanov, Rasputin and Revolution 3.5 Stars I was really looking forward to reading a novel of Rasputin s daughter, and I was evenpleased to discover that Alexei Nikolaevich, the doomed Romanov tsarevich, was such a central figure to the novel This is a novel about the last days of the Romanovs, but in this story, the four princesses take a back seat to their younger brother This is a book for Alexei, and I like that.After her father is murdered, eighteen year old Masha Rasputin, along with her younger sister Varya, is 3.5 Stars I was really looking forward to reading a novel of Rasputin s daughter, and I was evenpleased to discover that Alexei Nikolaevich, the doomed Romanov tsarevich, was such a central figure to the novel This is a novel about the last days of the Romanovs, but in this story, the four princesses take a back seat to their younger brother This is a book for Alexei, and I like that.After her father is murdered, eighteen year old Masha Rasputin, along with her younger sister Varya, is taken into the Romanov household, and not long after, Tsar Nicholas is forced to abdicate and the Romanov household is placed under house arrest Missing her father, unsure of her place, unsure of the fate of the family who has taken her in, she forms a friendship with Alyosha, as Alexei is called by his loved ones He is a smart young man stoic and realistic, and so wise for someone kept so sheltered Because of his illness, his family lives in fear of him hurting himself, and Alyosha has to live mostly through his imagination Masha entertains him by weaving fairy tales and discussing history and literature with him, by retelling anecdotes from her father s storied life and from Alyosha s parents courtship, by imagining with him a life he will never have But her stories aren t always happy ones she and Alyosha are both able to look upon the shared religious fanaticism of their parents with open and honest eyes, and Alyosha is able to comment on his father s failings as a ruler with surprising clarity and compassion Fascinated by the French Revolution and well versed on the subject, he calmly draws frightening comparisons and fateful predictions for his family.Masha s stories for the tsarevich are interspersed with her own recollections of her father s humble beginnings and rise to fame, and the circumstances leading up to his death, and with Masha s ordeal after she is released from the Romanovs prison as she tries to put some sort of a life together Against the odds, she goes on to fulfill some of her lifelong dreams while keeping the Romanovs alive in her heart It s all quite interesting, but her narrative jumps back and forth in time so much, and somewhat randomly, so that the story feels loose and disjointed, and I think it also contributed to my feeling of not really getting to know Masha.While there are some moments of joyful imagination and fantasy, and, despite his fatalism, a burning in Alexei to experience all he can of life before the end, overall the story is one of sadness and strife and it left me with a heavy heart Though the meat of the novel Masha and her relationship with the tsarevich is purely fictional, the historical backdrop is very real, and very intense The setting of St Petersburg comes to life, and I particularly enjoyed the depictions of the city and her people The writing is lovely and Masha makes some beautifully phrased observations, but it s also wordy and heavy on the introspection and commentary, and I found myself skimming a bit to get to the end While I did not find the physical relationship that developed between Masha and Alexei to be at all unbelievable in fact, I thought it was quite natural given the circumstances I was a bit put off by the entries at the end from a purely fictional journal of Alyosha s that survived his death and made its way to Masha, as its contents seem to be designed to titillatethan anything else But I always enjoy reading about Russia in fiction, and this is a very different approach to the Romanovs, and I liked that Harrison was able to inject some romance and escapism into such a tragedy I desperately wanted to love this book The cover, the Romanov s, the tragedy of Russia during this time period it should all add up to be heart wrenchingly beautiful but it was lacking a bit for me.There s no doubt that Kathryn Harrison is a writer who commands attention she had to have been otherwise I think I may have put the book down about halfway through Instead, I persevered, muddling my way through fragments of stories until I reached the end I think what it boiled down to was th I desperately wanted to love this book The cover, the Romanov s, the tragedy of Russia during this time period it should all add up to be heart wrenchingly beautiful but it was lacking a bit for me.There s no doubt that Kathryn Harrison is a writer who commands attention she had to have been otherwise I think I may have put the book down about halfway through Instead, I persevered, muddling my way through fragments of stories until I reached the end I think what it boiled down to was there were too many shifts, shifts of perspective stories time periods I understand what Harrison was attempting to do, and give her high marks for taking on such a complicated subject, but I felt as if I was being stretched back and forth repeatedly while reading Enchantments until I was just wrung tight, worn out, and exhausted by merely reading the book.I ve read another book about Rasputin s daughter, one by Robert Alexander, and the story was completely different so I appreciated the perspective put forth in this book did you know Rasputin s daughter joined a circus I had no idea I think if you are a fan of Russian history, and have a love for stories about the Romanov s, this is a book that will interest you but I recommend it with a warning just be prepared to feel like a bit of a patchwork quilt has been read I love learning new things Usually they come in the form of lessons Slamming your hand in the oven hurts Trees don t move, avoid running into them Leave the gun take the canoli but in that rare opportunity that I get to expand my brain under the assumption of pure entertainment I get giddy.When I was in High School, Disney released a movie called Anastasia I loved this movie Don t judge me and as a result became unabashedly obsessed with the Romanov dynasty I watched movies about t I love learning new things Usually they come in the form of lessons Slamming your hand in the oven hurts Trees don t move, avoid running into them Leave the gun take the canoli but in that rare opportunity that I get to expand my brain under the assumption of pure entertainment I get giddy.When I was in High School, Disney released a movie called Anastasia I loved this movie Don t judge me and as a result became unabashedly obsessed with the Romanov dynasty I watched movies about them, I scoured every National Geographic I could find, and pretty much made the local library my bitch I just couldn t get enough But with all of my note taking, and obsessive compulsive Wikipedia ing I never really paid attention to Rasputin Oh, he was there, lurking in the background like a disease, but my attention was required elsewhere so off it went Until now Damn you you kooky bastard My initial reason for grabbing this book was 1 sentence 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 Hellooooo Romanovs But instead of getting Masha with a little Alyosha foreplay, I got a Russian history lesson A very intriguing Russian history lesson cleverly disguised as fiction 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 eachother 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 This is the first time I can say, with unwavering confidence that I spent equal parts reading and investigating a book While normally even with historical fiction I will take an author at his her word, when it comes to details and just keep on trucking, there was something so formal about the plot or stories told by Masha, to Alyosha that I had this historians twitch to know if they were actually true Time and time again I found myself challenging the author, and time and time again I was proven wrong There is NO WAY some prince got pissed, dressed in drag, tricked Rasputin into coming over and then fed him cakes soaked in cyanide True Oh hell no someone does not get cut, almost in half, and live to tell about it True again feel free to look both of those up Because of this, the ridiculous accuracy of some of the most outlandish things I found myself unable to put Enchantments down I had to know the truth Even if it involved someone being eaten by a bear It wasn t necessarily about HOW the story ended, because well, we already know how that well that turned out, but it wasabout the personal glimpses into what happened BEFORE the end, How the Tsar behaved under house arrest How OTMA sewed jewels into their frillies just in case they were forced to move in the middle of the night that had me so enthralled.Now yes there were a FEW parts that were fiction Alyosha didn t REALLY race Hermes on a bright red bike but what can one really expect from a girl who is trying desperately to distract a dying boy Who knew Hemophilia was a death sentence shrugs So what can be said other than I was head deep in Russia and LOVED it Why don t we talk about Harrison s writing It was genuinely unique Harrison is not a newbie in the book world, but until Enchantments I had never read anything by her, so her brazen stanzas, and no nonsense approach to dialogue was intriguing That s not to say that it wasn t a difficult book to read Like I ve said roughly 70 times now this book read a lot like a history lesson, so there are pages and pages of historical accounts and flashbacks that, if you re not careful in regards to pacing yourself, might very likely turn you off In other words this isn t a book for the streamline plot hungry.And at the end of the day it was sad Not because everyone died I hope this isn t a spoiler God it shouldn t be but because of the mental awareness everyone had KNOWING that they were going to die Imagine living with that hanging over your shoulder.Alyosha certainly did Overall good book Detailed almost to the point of annoyingness, but good all the same.This is one for bio junkies and history buffs No one else need apply.Happy Reading my fellow kindle ites and remember I am now an expert on all things Mad Monk I would be an asset to anyone s Trivial Pursuit team Good God in heaven, my eyeballs hurt There is a scene in which Nagorny troops off with the Tsarevich to get him deflowered by a local peasant girl There is a scene in which the bullet riddled bodies of the Grand Duchesses appear to Mashka that would be Maria Rasputin to US just to let her know that Alyosha the Sunbeam is thinking about her inside a Faberge egg in the afterlife If that sentence made sense to you, this is the book for you Otherwise, run like a deer It is enough to make that Good God in heaven, my eyeballs hurt There is a scene in which Nagorny troops off with the Tsarevich to get him deflowered by a local peasant girl There is a scene in which the bullet riddled bodies of the Grand Duchesses appear to Mashka that would be Maria Rasputin to US just to let her know that Alyosha the Sunbeam is thinking about her inside a Faberge egg in the afterlife If that sentence made sense to you, this is the book for you Otherwise, run like a deer It is enough to make that crap novel that Carolly Erickson wrote about Tatiana look like Dostoevski ^Download Ebook ⇲ Encantamentos ☞ No primeiro dia de , ano de todas as mudan as na R ssia, o corpo de Rasputine resgatado das guas geladas do Neva, em S o Petersburgo Horas mais tarde, as duas filhas do Monge Louco s o levadas para o pal cio e acolhidas pela fam lia imperial, pois a czarina espera que Masha, a mais velha, consiga salvar o filho Alyosha, o enfermi o herdeiro do trono Masha n o tem o misticismo magn tico do pai, mas descobre o dom encantat rio das suas hist rias E com elas que, sempre entre a vida e a morte, os dois adolescentes conhecer o o amor e um pa s imenso, a R ssia, que Alyosha nunca chegar a governarInspirando se na vida aventureira da filha de Rasputine, Xerazade russa que viria a ser domadora de le es na Am rica, Kathryn Harrison retrata uma era em que a Hist ria se impacienta e o mundo mudaria, com a Revolu o Bolchevique e o fim da lend ria dinastia dos Romanov