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“Prince Michael of Greece brings considerable novelistic verve to The Empress of Farewells, his ripping new biography of Charlotte, as well as an insider’s perspective on royal life.” W
The White Night of St. Petersburg
Atlantic Monthly Press
978-0-87113-922-1 • $24.00 • Cloth • Oct. 2004
A vividly imagined historical novel based on the true story of a scandal within the legendary Romanov dynasty
In July 1998 the descendants of the Romanov family assembled in the lobby of the Astoria Hotel in St. Petersburg to attend a solemn internment ceremony for Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, and their children, who were murdered eighty years earlier by the Bolsheviks. During the service, Prince Michael of Greece, whose grandmother was a Romanov, noticed a dazzling older woman in the crowd. Curious to know her connection, he traveled to Moscow to meet her. Her name was Natalya Androssov Iskander Romanov and over tea she revealed the long-buried story of her grandfather, Grand Duke Nicholas.
To Prince Michael’s utter surprise, all record of Nicholas Kostantinovich Romanov had been erased from the royal vaults, so Natalya’s memories are the only key to his past. As she speaks the narrative turns to a snow-filled St. Petersburg morning in November 1860, and there begins the fantastic reimagining of the life of this rebellious and dashing duke. From a lonely but privileged childhood, he grows into a gifted military officer and notorious ladies’ man. At the opera one evening, he meets the devastatingly beautiful American courtesan, Fanny Lear. They begin a scandalous affair that, unbeknownst to Nicholas, leads into his implication in a traitorous plot to betray his family. His swift banishment to the far reaches of the vast Russian empire changes his life forever; he’ll never have a home again and is moved about the realm like a pawn to prevent his tarnishing of the family name.
From the glittering splendor of Imperial Russia to treks across the barren steppe, The White Night of St. Petersburg brings to life a fascinating and forgotten member of one of history’s most legendary families.