Discover the highly acclaimed historical fiction series set within the glittering and ruthless House of Romanov.
'Gripping … Who would not want to spend more time in the mad, bad world of the Romanovs?' The Times
'A delicious hotbed of greed, lust and envy' Heat
When they took everything from her, they didn't count on her fighting to get it back...
Born into the House of Romanov to the all-powerful Peter the Great and Catherine I, beautiful Tsarevna Elizabeth is the world's loveliest Princess and the envy of the Russian empire. Insulated by luxury and as a woman free from the burden of statecraft, Elizabeth is seemingly born to pursue her passions.
However, a dark prophecy predicts her fate as inexorably twined with Russia. When her mother dies, Russia is torn, masks fall, and friends become foes. Elizabeth's idyllic world is upended. By her twenties she is penniless and powerless, living under constant threat. As times change like quicksand, an all-consuming passion emboldens Elizabeth: she must decide whether to take up her role as Russia's ruler, and what she's willing to do for her country – and for love.
Praise for Tsarina
'It makes Game of Thrones look like a nursery rhyme' Daisy Goodwin
'A vivid page-turner of a debut' The Times
'Tsarina should come with a health warning – once you start reading, it's impossible to stop' Hannah Rothschild
Alpsten impresses with the second volume of her trilogy (following Tsarina), focusing on Elizabeth Petrovna Romanova, daughter of Tsar Peter the Great and Catherine I, who ruled Russia from 1741 until her death in 1762. An opening tease signals a grim tale of ruthless determination. In 1741, Elizabeth, 31, the only one of Peter's 15 children still alive, must decide whether to claim the throne. Her quandary: she believes that doing so is her country's only hope of avoiding foreign domination, but it would also displace her one-year-old cousin Ivan. Before she decides, Alpsten traces an arc from Elizabeth's teen years to her assumption of power. That backstory presents the harsh choices her predecessors made; for example, her father personally executed his son Tsarevich Alexey, Elizabeth's half brother, after Alexey became the leader of a movement opposed to the Tsar's reforms aimed at modernizing the country. Elizabeth also experienced the loss of numerous loved ones, including both her parents, and a tumultuous romantic life, given that her preferences for a spouse were secondary to political considerations. While readers will know how the opening drama is resolved, Alpsten's gifts at laying on evocative period detail and engendering empathy for her characters will keep the pages turning. This leaves the series nicely poised for the finale.