Thursday, 6 January 2011

Read in 2011 - 1: Die Zarentochter

Some of my fellow bloggers on here have such impressive, interesting and informative lists of what they read in 2010 and what they intend to read this year that I thought, why not?
And while I can not and will not plan ahead for most of my reading material, I can certainly keep track of what I have read.
The first book I finished reading this year was "Die Zarentochter" by Petra Durst-Benning (literally: "The Tsar's Daughter").

It is a historical novel, based on Princess Olga Nikolajewna Romanowa's life up to her marriage with Prince Karl von Württemberg, later to become Queen Olga and King Karl of Württemberg. They spent part of their life as monarchs here in my hometown's castle, and we still have streets, hospitals and other institutions named after Queen Olga.

The book's cover shows her portrait as it was done around 1856, when she was about 34 years old.

Olga was very popular with the people of Württemberg for all the good deeds she did; she was socially engaged in many projects and not just had her name put on top of the institutions but really worked for them.

The novel depicts her childhood and youth, and how politics were almost always put before private life, making Olga a rather unhappy young woman for many years, who saw herself as being doomed for life as an old spinster. Later in life, she wrote her memoirs, and the novel is largely based on those. We get a chance to glimpse life at the Russian Tsar's court, how the young members of aristocracy were raised and educated, what was expected of men and women in that society, and the cultural and political differences between Russia and Germany in those days.
I enjoyed reading it, but to be honest, mostly because I like to learn more about the history of my home town and the people who had a part in shaping it. While I appreciate the author's effort in terms of extensive research, her style is pleasant but not so overwhelmingly great that it makes me want to read each and every book she has ever written.


  1. I love history novels and it makes your town come to life. I can see how you would be so drawn to her novels. I am going to check with Nobles book store to see if I can find this novel, if not I am headed to our local library!

  2. Linda, I have no idea whether any of the author's work has been translated into English. Let me know if you find out, yes?
    Thank you!

  3. Well I popped over and decide to see what the Russian connection was. Now I know (at least in part).

    1. There is loads more to be said about that connection, but this post was of course first and foremost a book review.