Enchantments by Kathryn Harrison
Published by: Random House
Published on: March 6, 2012
Page Count: 336
Genre: Historical Fiction
My Reading Format: ARC sent to me by the publisher in order to participate in the author’s TLC Book Tour.
Available Formats: Hardcover and eBook
Giveaway Information: As part of this book tour, Random House books has graciously offered a copy for me to giveaway to one of my lucky readers. To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment to this post. I will use the Number Randomizer to select the winner on Saturday, March 10th.
Today it is my great pleasure to be Kathryn Harrison’s host on her TLC Book Tour. This tour is to celebrate her new novel, Enchantments.
I have a lot of fun working as a tour host for TLC Book Tours. They always have great books and authors on tour. Check out their website for more information on this tour and the others that they are hosting.
From the moment Rasputin’s body was pulled from the frozen Neva river, the lives of his daughters were placed in the hands of Tsar Nikolay and his family. On top of the danger of being associated with the Romanov family, Masha, Rasputin’s eldest daughter, was under pressure from Tsarina Alexandra, who believed that Masha inherited the healing powers of her father. Masha knew that wasn’t true. In fact, when Prince Aloysha suffered injuries due to his hemophilia, she ran away. Somehow Masha had to make a way in the imperial palace and keep her sister and herself safe from the revolution closing in on them all.
Enchantments tells the story of Rasputin and the Romanov family within the relationship of Masha and Aloysha. Masha may not have had her father’s powers of physical healing, but she was able to bring emotional comfort to Aloysha through her stories. As they are imprisoned together, the two create a world of their own. A world where Aloysha can explore the land he had been born to lead but was too ill to see for himself. The relationship isn’t one sided. Aloysha gives Masha a place to be herself with a person who understood the feelings she had for her father. Masha and Aloysha’s relationship began with the stories, but it grew more intense the worse the situation with the Romanov’s became. The increased intimacy between the two made the stories of their families all the more compelling.
Just as The Winter Palace was my first adventure in Russia through Historical Fiction, Enchantments was my first Romanov read. I began the book with vague notions of who Rasputin was and what happened to the Romanovs. I remember the stories of Anastasia Romanov that popped up occasionally during my early years. The most rewarding part of this read was the way that Kathryn Harrison weaved the rumors and realities together, bringing them all together through the life of Masha. It is no less difficult to be the daughter of a mysterious, charismatic spiritual healer with a healthy sexual appetite than it was to be the sheltered heir to a dying throne. While Masha may have seen more in her life, was she any less free from her father and his destiny? Somehow she managed to live as her father requested and still found a way to live the life she imagined, even if Aloysha couldn’t be a life-long part of it.
Enchantments, despite one section about the devil that left me a little puzzled, reminded me of why I love Historical Fiction. When it is good, it not only prompts the reader to explore another time and place, there is much to think about and apply to modern life. Regardless of genre, Kathryn Harrison knows how to tell a story. Not only is this book interesting to a first timer like me, but I’ve discussed this book with those more experienced with this time period and they have enjoyed it as well. Seeing it all from the point of view of Rasputin’s daughter definitely made it special. I highly recommend this read. If you don’t already have a copy, don’t hesitate to enter my giveaway.