Today I am sharing my review for a fabulous book, The Lost Daughter by Gill Paul. I would like to thank the publisher Headline for accepting my request to read an e-copy of this book.
A Russian princess. An extraordinary sacrifice. A captivating secret….
From the number one best-selling author of The Secret Wife, The Lost Daughter is a sweeping, moving story of the tenacity of love and the power of forgiveness. Spectacular, enthralling and romantic, Gill Paul’s latest novel will stay with you forever.
1918. With the country they once ruled turned against them, the future of the Romanov family hangs in the balance. When middle daughter Maria captures the attention of two of the guards, it will lead to the ultimate choice between right and wrong….
Fifty-five years later…
‘I didn’t want to kill her’. With these cryptic words Val’s father dies, leaving her to unravel a mystery which unites two families who have faced unspeakable tragedy and perhaps to finally offer an explanation which has been long overdue.
I am going to start by saying that this is a stunning historical fiction read that has been sat on my digital TBR for far too long. I really wish I had picked it up sooner.
It has two timelines, one in 1918 and the other in the 1970s. I was curious how these two would eventually link up as they also span two different continents. A story of tragedy, love, betrayal, and heartbreak amongst the turmoil of 1918 Russia, and in the 70s a daughter trying to discover the meaning behind her fathers’ mysterious ramblings.
What an absolutely fabulous read, full of emotion and completely addictive. From the start, I noticed the details that showed the evidence of a well-researched book. I was immediately transported with the authors take on the story of the Romanov family. Maria is one of Tsar Nicholas II daughters. At 19 Maria is taken from the opulent lifestyle. Russia is in a period of transition, a period of turmoil and suffering that many experienced for many years to come.
In the 70s I met Val, she is confused with her father. He has dementia and is dying, but she wonders if his mysterious conversations have anything to do with his past. They are troubled words and she finds herself unable to leave them alone. She sets out to discover the truth and also finds herself making decisions about her own future.
There is something about the history of the Romanovs and Russian history of this era that really does pique my interest. It may seem a morbid thing to be interested in, but my interest lies in the social class and structure of the time. A time in history that is tragic as people of all classes are persecuted, depending on who is in power. But it is the human resilience and inventiveness of trying to stay alive, rather than bowing down to an authority that would rather you were dead than oppose them. The Author has done an amazing job of mixing fact with fiction to give a glimpse into Russian life at the time.
The story between the two times was one that had me hooked. I found the characters were very easy to follow and recognisable. The alternating timelines were again very easy to keep up with. I found a story that was heartbreaking and hopeful. Heartbreaking because of what had happened, but hopeful towards the possibility of a better future. It had a dramatic and at times tense atmosphere to the reading, I found myself constantly wondering and worrying about the fate of some of the characters. I was totally caught up and mesmerised by the whole story.
The story of Val is a gradual one, she slowly starts to unravel a decades-old mystery that has kept its grip on her father. Her story really did compliment that of Maria. I was unsure how they would link, but when I started to see little things coming together I was even more compelled to read. By the end of the story I was a bit of an emotional wreck… enter the box of tissues…I found the concluding chapters brought everything together beautifully and completely, although I was gutted to have finished the story.
This was an absolutely wonderful read, it has an amazing balance of human endurance to overcome heartwrenching odds. In case you have not guessed it yet, I absolutely adored this story and it is one I would Highly Recommend. Also, it has left me wanting to read more by this author.
Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in relatively recent history. Her new novel, The Lost Daughter, is about Maria, the third of the Romanov daughters, who befriended the guards in Ekaterinburg, and a Sydney woman called Val Scott, who is trapped in an abusive marriage.
Gill’s other novels include Another Woman’s Husband, about links between Wallis Simpson and Princess Diana, and The Secret Wife, about the romance between cavalry officer Dmitri Malama and Grand Duchess Tatiana, the second Romanov daughter, who first met in 1914. Women and Children First is about a young steward who works on the Titanic. The Affair was set in Rome in 1961–62 as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton fell in love while making Cleopatra. And No Place for a Lady is about two Victorian sisters who travel out to the Crimean War of 1854–56 and face challenges beyond anything they could have imagined.
Gill also writes historical non-fiction, including A History of Medicine in 50 Objects, and a series of Love Stories, each containing fourteen tales of real-life couples: how they met, why they fell for each other, and what happened in the end. Published around the world, this series includes Royal Love Stories, World War I Love Stories and Titanic Love Stories.
Gill was born in Glasgow and grew up there, apart from an eventful year at school in the US when she was ten. She studied Medicine at Glasgow University, then English Literature and History (she was a student for a long time), before moving to London to work in publishing. She started her own company producing books for publishers, along the way editing such luminaries as Griff Rhys Jones, John Suchet, John Julius Norwich, Ray Mears and Eartha Kitt. She also writes on health, nutrition and relationships.
Gill swims year-round in an open-air pond – “It’s good for you so long as it doesn’t kill you”– and is a devotee of Pilates. She also particularly enjoys travelling on what she calls “research trips” and attempting to match-make for friends.
Purchase Link – Amazon UK
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