A mix of historical, political unrest, romance, and a touch of magic... Romanov by Nadine Brandes (Review)

By Nadine Brandes
YA Historical Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Hardcover & ebook, 352 Pages
May 7th 2019 by Thomas Nelson


From the author of Fawkes comes a magical take on the story of Anastasia Romanov.

“I am obsessed with this book! Romanov is a magical twist on history that will have Anastasia fans wishing for more. I loved every detail Brandes wrote. If you love magic and Imperial Russia, you want Romanov on your shelf!” —Evelyn SkyeNew York Times bestselling author of the Crown’s Game series and Circle of Shadows

The history books say I died.
They don’t know the half of it.

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them, and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of saving herself and her family are either to release the spell and deal with the consequences, or to enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya has only dabbled in magic, but it doesn’t frighten her half as much as her growing attraction to Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her.

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.

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My Review

ROMANOV is a mix historical facts with fiction and a touch of magic. Readers will most be drawn by the protagonist, Nastya, and her fight to protect her family after they've been forced to leave all they know and exiled. With dire circumstances, danger at every turn, and blooming romance, it's a story that tugs on the heart as it builds to a climatic ending. 

I loved Nastya from the beginning. She's logical, smart, loyal, but also mischievous and impetuous. I also loved that this is a story about Anastasia, but told in a new way with a touch of magic that came across as believable. The story moves at a steady pace - more on the slower side, so don't expect a page-turner until later on when things become intense. I also appreciated that the romance was secondary and grew over time, from attraction, to two people trying to understand each other, to friendship, and then to the possibility of more. I also liked how the story presented two sides of the historical political turmoil in Russia and how choices and perceptions influenced what happened. I did feel there could have been more cultural richness and even more depth to the characters, but these are minor complaints.

In the end, was it what I wished for? I thoroughly enjoyed reading this! It was interesting, entertaining, with likable characters, and came across as heartfelt. Definitely a story I'd recommend to historical romance fans.

Content: Some violence (it is a revolution), but clean.
Source: I received a complimentary ARC from the publisher, which did not require a positive review nor affect my review in any way.

Have you read this? Will you be?

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