MICHAEL AND NATASHA by Rosemary Crawford

MICHAEL AND NATASHA

The Life and Love of Michael II, the Last of the Romanov Tsars

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Thwarted love, scandal, and tragedy among royals, this time played out in the genuinely moving story of Michael Romanov. At the beginning of the century, the Romanov rulers of Russia faced turmoil both in politics and in their personal lives. Scandals and feuds erupted as various Romanovs defied Tsar Nicholas by marrying commoners and divorcÇes, and by taking sides for or against the controversial Tsaritsa Alexandra. Because Michael, Nicholas's younger brother by ten years, was a potential heir to the throne, his personal life carried very public implications. Thus, when he fell in love with a married woman (and divorcÇe), Natasha Wulfert, it was both a political and a family scandal. After fathering a son with her, Michael, a loyal lover and dedicated family man, defied the tsar's orders and married Natasha secretly in Vienna. Outraged, Nicholas took drastic measures, denying him money and removing him from the regency. Yet after spending several years in European exile, Michael and Natasha returned to Russia with the outbreak of WW I; when the Motherland was at stake, family rows could be put aside. Their return also led to their tragic end: Michael, chosen by Nicholas as his heir upon his abdication, was imprisoned and executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918, while Natasha later died alone and destitute in Paris. The Crawfords, British journalists, tell two stories here: the compelling account of a private romance and enduring love, and a less focused narrative of the historical circumstances that determined the couple's fate. Well researched, but lengthy and overly detailed, the book will appeal especially to fans of royal romances. Given this intimate and persuasive account of a decent, honest man, readers cannot help but wonder about the course of history if only Michael, and not Nicholas, had been tsar. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 4th, 1997
ISBN: 0-684-83430-8
Page count: 441pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1997




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