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January 29, 2014


A Novel
Jennifer Laam

Paperback, 344 pages
Published October 22nd 2013
St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN 125002868X 
 (ISBN13: 9781250028686)
(from Goodreads)

The Setting:
Hvudire Estatem Copenhagen
October 1927

A compelling alternate history of the Romanov family in which a secret fifth daughter—smuggled out of Russia before the revolution—continues the royal lineage to dramatic consequences

In her riveting debut novel, The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, Jennifer Laam seamlessly braids together the stories of three women: Veronica, Lena, and Charlotte. Veronica is an aspiring historian living in present-day Los Angeles when she meets a mysterious man who may be heir to the Russian throne. As she sets about investigating the legitimacy of his claim through a winding path of romance and deception, the ghosts of her own past begin to haunt her. Lena, a servant in the imperial Russian court of 1902, is approached by the desperate Empress Alexandra.  After conceiving four daughters, the Empress is determined to sire a son and believes Lena can help her. Once elevated to the Romanov’s treacherous inner circle, Lena finds herself under the watchful eye of the meddling Dowager Empress Marie. Charlotte, a former ballerina living in World War II occupied Paris, receives a surprise visit from a German officer. Determined to protect her son from the Nazis, Charlotte escapes the city, but not before learning that the officer’s interest in her stems from his longstanding obsession with the fate of the Russian monarchy. Then as Veronica's passion intensifies, and her search for the true heir to the throne takes a dangerous turn, the reader learns just how these three vastly different women are connected. The Secret Daughter of the Tsar is thrilling from its first intense moments until its final, unexpected conclusion.
Jennifer LaamAUTHOR

Jennifer Laam's debut novel is The Secret Daughter of the Tsar (St. Martin's Griffin, October 2013). She holds a master's degree in History. Jennifer has lived in Los Angeles and the suburbs of Detroit, and has traveled in Russia, England, France, and Finland. In addition to Russian History, Jennifer's interests include film, music, pop culture, and politics. She currently lives in Northern California.
I am a writer of historical and contemporary fiction represented by Erin Harris at Folio Literary Management. My debut novel The Secret Daughter of the Tsar will be published by St. Martin’s Press/Griffin in October 2013.
 I currently work in development (fundraising) for higher education. I have also worked as a fifth grade teacher and a health educator.
Written mostly in third person set in the present, but goes back and forth with the past. You don't become confused as to whether it is past or present,  since the author tells you what period you are in and prepares you in advance.
THE SECRET DAUGHTER OF THE TSAR is an fascinating story about Empress Alexandra Romanov and and he wanting to have a son. The story of what happens to the Romanovs is a sad story.

Veronica Herrea, a Russian history professor, is writing a book about Alexandra Romanov.  I found as I read that the  author made the characters as much like the real people as she could. I was amazed at how real they actually seemed.  From what I've read in other books, the author is pretty much spot on.  When Veronica met with the department head, she was told that she hasn't much of a chance of gaining tenure even though she's told she must write a high quality book.
There is a lot of mistrust between Michael Karstadt and Veronica. Ms. Laam makes you wonder about the characters and the mysteriousness that surrounds them. Has Michael lied to Veronica even though he has helped with research. A secret about Alexandra is discovered and Veronica's life is not the same.
I know the whole plot is about gaining the truth.  I found I was quite intrigued by the characters. Some of the characters I found easy to relate to.  I almost felt the fear that Veronica  had about not wanting to fail. I wanted to know more about Charlotte since not much is said about her.  There's a mystery surrounding her and I feel that perhaps the author did that for a reason, Another thing I found quite interesting is the Russian mobster who will do anything to get a Tsar back on the throne.
One narrative is present, two are in the past.  Lena's narrative takes place in late imperial Russia .  Charlotte's in during WWII in occupied Paris..

Ms. Laam builds the suspense about the mystery of Alexandra, being that she has a secret daughter. I feel the daughter was kept a secret since a son was wanted. Perhaps the supposed miscarriage Alexandra had in 1902 didn't happen.  Gives the reader something to think about. The author did a superb job at writing this history of Russia.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves Russian history or just historical fiction.  This book is definitely a keeper to add to your collection for another read.

I would give this book 5 STARS.

I was given a  complimentary copy of THE SECRET DAUGHTER OF THE TSAR by Jennifer Laam from NightOwlReviews for my honest opinion.  No other compensation took place.

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