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“The bond of family spans miles, memory and time.”

Romanov was my most anticipated book of 2019. I love Nadine’s writing, the A Time to Die series changed my life (or at least my perspective on life), and then Fakwes, which made me doubt alongside Thomas in what was right and wrong and how to find your place in the world.

AND THEN ROMANOV CAME. Move aside Disney, because this is far better. Nadine sticks to the facts of the Romanov family and pictures in detail what happened to them in exile. And it is a haunting picture, even though the family truly makes the best of their circumstances.

Nadine focuses on three of the siblings: Nastya (Anastasia), Alexei and Maria. And she did it extremely well... Alexei has a genetic disease, and she painted a vivid picture of someone who has been ill for years and has learned the coping mechanisms. They were the same lessons I have learned (like when to admit you need help instead of stubbornly trying to do it on your own, but also to try to live your life fully even though doctors tell you to rest rest rest). I can say the disability representation is top notch! So naturally I fell in love with this lovely 13 year old boy that was made both strong and kind because of his suffering. Then there’s Maria, who dares to give her whole heart. And Nastya, wonderful imp. She has such resilience and she is incredibly brave. Both in her actions and her mind. Because she does the impossible: she tries to understand her captors and forgive the unforgivable - that is true strength and bravery.

“Revenge would have shattered us both. But you've given us the opportunity to be strong. To mend our hearts instead of break them further.“

Also, I need to mention tsar Nikolai especially, Anastasia’s father. He sets an amazing example how to not only forgive your enemies, but befriend them as well. His lessons resound with Nastya and she does her best to uphold them. AND JOY THE AMAZING TERRIER DOGGIE. Gotta love a dog side character, especially this fierce terrier (this might be the only Disney reference lol though it is historically accurate).

OK, I could go on and on about the characters and how much I love them. But there are other things too! There is MAGIC for example. I love how it was implemented in the story, it felt like it totally belonged. There is a special doll which holds spells, and Nastya needs to protect it with her life. While the first part of the stories focuses on the exile, and therefore has more feels and contemplation, the second part has loads of action! There was never a boring moment, it felt perfectly balanced. And that ending is all I wanted. Though what I really wanted was A 1000 MORE PAGES IN THIS BOOK. But then, maybe not, because within these pages Nadine had me bawling. Not crying, BAWLING. For an hour. I still get a bit teary eyed when I think about it (spoiler free review, but you know what I mean when you’ve read it).

And we need to talk about Zash. He is full of angst and anger, but his character arc is amazing! Oh I wish I could say more, but let me just tell me you’re going to love him, hate him and love him again and it’ll break your heart.

Overall, I loved the story, but above all the theme of the power of forgiveness. And the power of family and choosing love instead of hate. And this is such an important message! And if you think this might get preachy, noooo it doesn’t at all! This book shows how impossible it is to forgive and the struggles that come with it and yet to do it anyway. This message us SO IMPORTANT. I’m gonna be thinking about it for days.

I’m going to end this review with a quote I wholeheartedly support:

“Peace, quiet, and safety are all well. But community and relationships are what truly fill a person's life.”

Reacties op: Amazing

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Romanov - Nadine Brandes
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