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Fiction World War I

The Last Grand Duchess

A Novel of Olga Romanov, Imperial Russia, and Revolution

by (author) Bryn Turnbull

MIRA Books
Initial publish date
Feb 2022
World War I, Historical, Contemporary Women, 20th Century
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Feb 2022
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2022
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2022
    List Price

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“Powerful and haunting . . . an intimate and unforgettable tale that transports the reader to the heart of Imperial Russia.” —Chanel Cleeton, New York Times bestselling author of The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba

This sweeping novel takes readers behind palace walls to see the end of Imperial Russia through the eyes of Olga Nikolaevna Romanov, the first daughter of the last tsar

Grand Duchess Olga Romanov comes of age amid a shifting tide for the great dynasties of Europe. But even as unrest simmers in the capital, Olga is content to live within the confines of the sheltered life her parents have built for her and her three sisters: hiding from the world on account of their mother’s ill health, their brother Alexei’s secret affliction, and rising controversy over Father Grigori Rasputin, the priest on whom the tsarina has come to rely. Olga’s only escape from the seclusion of Alexander Palace comes from the grand tea parties her aunt hosts amid the shadow court of Saint Petersburg—a world of opulent ballrooms, scandalous flirtation, and whispered conversation.

But as war approaches, the palaces of Russia are transformed. Olga and her sisters trade their gowns for nursing habits, assisting in surgeries and tending to the wounded bodies and minds of Russia’s military officers. As troubling rumors about her parents trickle in from the front, Olga dares to hope that a budding romance might survive whatever the future may hold. But when tensions run high and supplies run low, the controversy over Rasputin grows into fiery protest, and calls for revolution threaten to end three hundred years of Romanov rule.

At turns glittering and harrowing, The Last Grand Duchess is a story about dynasty, duty, and love, but above all, it’s the story of a family who would choose devotion to each other over everything—including their lives.

Looking for more historical fiction from Bryn Turnbull? Don't miss The Woman Before Wallis. For fans of The Paris Wife and The Crown, this stunning novel tells the true story of the American divorcée who captured Prince Edward’s heart before he abdicated his throne for Wallis Simpson.

About the author

Bryn Turnbull is a writer of historical fiction with a penchant for fountain pens. Equipped with a master's of letters in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews, a master's of professional communication from Ryerson University and a bachelor's degree in English literature from McGill University, Bryn focuses on finding stories of women lost within the cracks of the historical record. She lives in Toronto. The Woman Before Wallis is her first novel. 

Bryn Turnbull's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“When The Last Grand Duchess opens in March 1917, we are witness to the collapse of a world: the privileged existence of the Romanov czarist family. . . I loved this novel, chiefly because of its deft characterizations. . . Even the most flawed characters have their redeeming points: there’s not a cardboard villain to be found. Superbly written and researched, this is a novel that I will be reading again.” Historical Novels Society (Editor’s Pick)

The Last Grand Duchess depicts a real family, with all their eccentricities and dynamics, while weaving in key details of the real Romanovs, their friends, and their families. Complete with an authorʼs note and a bibliography that would charm any librarian, this historical fiction depicts the final years of the Romanovs in a way that feels both inspired and truthful.”Booklist (starred)

“Turnbull pries off the veneer that masked Olga as a blue-blooded victim of the Bolshevik Revolution; instead she gives Olga a three-dimensional personhood with a verve that evokes Scarlett O’Hara... An entrancing tribute to a Victorian lass of tragic grace.” —Library Journal

“Turnbull again successfully humanizes a family of powerful historical figures…Though the tragic story has been fictionalized effectively in novels such as Carolyn Meyer’s Anastasia and Her Sisters, Turnbull adds to the lore by focusing on a more obscure Romanov, with a gift at making Olga’s situation painfully tangible. This amply justifies taking another look at the lives of the condemned royals.” —Publishers Weekly

The Last Grand Duchess is a powerful and haunting ode to the tragic life of Olga Romanov. Turnbull’s sweeping novel illuminates the fall of the Romanovs in an intimate and unforgettable tale that transports the reader to the heart of Imperial Russia. A poignant, engrossing story that historical fiction readers will love!” —Chanel Cleeton, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba

"From Saint Petersburg to Siberia, sweeping back and forth in time, Bryn expertly weaves together an all-consuming story of The Russian Revolution and the fall of the House of Romanovs. The Last Grand Duchess features a true heroine who displays courage and grace in the face of war, making sacrifices of the heart in the name of family and country loyalty. Historical fiction fans will devour this one!” —Renée Rosen, USA TODAY bestselling author of Park Avenue Summer

“Olga proves time and again that she was a woman ahead of her time, a woman who, heartbreakingly, could have given so much to Russia, her family and the man she loved if only she was given the chance. A gorgeously told tale.” —Natasha Lester, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Secret

The Last Grand Duchess is a masterful work of historical fiction. . . . Turnbull depicts the fault lines of human frailty in all families, as well as the strong bonds of emotion and sacrifice that underpin them. A clear-eyed, compassionate, and heartrending story that skillfully uses fiction to further our understanding of the Romanov dynasty, its fascinating players, and its tragic end.” —Natalie Jenner, USA Today bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society

“From glittering palaces to field hospitals, privilege to prison life, Bryn Turnbull portrays the downfall of a royal family with clarity, empathy, and intimacy. THE LAST GRAND DUCHESS reads like a symphony, the last notes of the Romanovs vanishing with a staggering and tragic beauty.” —Erika Robuck, National bestselling author of The Invisible Woman

“Haunting and beautiful. Turnbull’s take on the Olga Romanov story will leave you hopeful that love does triumph over all.” Kaia Alderson, author of Sisters in Arms

“Ambitious and intimate, violent and tender, Bryn Turnbull’s The Last Grand Duchess pulls aside some heavy curtains on Russia’s history, spotlighting the tragically human characters in this royal drama. Olga Romanov is seared into my heart as the best kind of tragic heroine, one who fights and loves with every fiber of her being, even in the face of mortal danger. A deeply absorbing read.” —Kerri Maher, author of The Paris Bookseller

The Last Grand Duchess is the enthralling, beautifully written account of the fall of one of the world’s most powerful dynasties. As Grand Duchess Olga Romanov is torn from the glittering excess of St. Petersburg ballrooms and thrust into the tragedy and hardship of war, she finds a strength and courage that few possess. A complex, heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting story that will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.” —Christine Wells, author of Sisters of the Resistance

“Bryn Turnbull brings the Romanov family to vivid life, weaving a captivating, tragic tale that is at once sweeping and intimate. Deeply researched and beautifully written, this story humanizes Olga Romanov as she navigates the mounting tensions wrought between family and country, faith and politics, fate and free will. I found myself reading this novel long into the night, spellbound, the pages all but turning themselves. A must read!” —Kristin Beck, author of Courage, My Love

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