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The Tsarina’s Daughter by Ellen Alpsten []



Alpsten’s follow up to Tsarina (2020) focuses on the life of Elizabeth (Lizenka), daughter of Peter the Great and his second wife Catherine I, from her royal childhood through a tumultuous adolescence and young adulthood. Lizenka is charming, beautiful, and beloved, inspiring envy and loyalty among her relations and the Russian people. Political intrigue abounds, with friends and family moving through the court and royal residences as power shifts and people fall in and out of favor. Originally expected to marry Louis XV, Lizenka’s fortunes fall not long after she encounters the Leshy (a forest spirit) on a walk in the woods. The Leshy tells Lizenka her future, and Lizenka returns to the Leshy’s words over the years as each prediction comes true. In addition to foretelling Lizenka’s difficulties, the Leshy also tells of greatness, which comes to fruition just as the volume ends. Students of Russian history will enjoy the attention to detail (see the author’s note for details) and fans of historical fiction based on real people will devour this rich repast, and be left eager for the next book’s conclusion of this trilogy about the Romanovs.

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