Author Topic: Last Tsarina (novel by Ludmila Prole)  (Read 3110 times)

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Offline tea_rose

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Last Tsarina (novel by Ludmila Prole)
« on: June 28, 2004, 04:51:05 PM »
   I just won this as part of an E-bay lot. I think someone mentioned it once before-but I can't remember what they said!  It didn't have any reviews on Amazon-so I have a feeling that it is probably ho-hum, at best.

Has anyone read this? I have read some Romanov-based novels like "The Summer Day is Done" that I really enjoyed. I wondered if anyone had any feelings on this one. The copyright date seems to be 1973.

Offline Janet_Ashton

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Re: Last Tsarina (novel by Ludmila Prole)
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2004, 05:06:10 PM »
Quote
  I just won this as part of an E-bay lot. I think someone mentioned it once before-but I can't remember what they said!  It didn't have any reviews on Amazon-so I have a feeling that it is probably ho-hum, at best.

Has anyone read this? I have read some Romanov-based novels like "The Summer Day is Done" that I really enjoyed. I wondered if anyone had any feelings on this one. The copyright date seems to be 1973.



It was probably me that mentioned it, so here's the relevant bits of my "Last Romanovs in fiction" article...

"Prole’s The last Tsarina is apparently an adults’ book, written for a highly unsophisticated audience. No character in it is clearly drawn, and none are sympathetic, although the author seems to intend the Empress to play on our heart strings. It is a fictionalised biography of the Empress, and Alexandra here is an excessively pathetic figure, curiously reduced in every way. Even her physical dimensions are down-played: she has “little hands”, a “little mouth”. She comes across as shallow and self-centered, spending hour after hour whining that no-one in Russia likes her, infatuated with jewelry, and clinging to her husband for explanation of events unfolding around them. One suspects that the unattractive picture is unintentional, and that the author simply imagines that this is how princesses behave. Early in the book, Prole states that Nicholas is simple and child-like, in contrast to his well-educated wife; but for the most part he is portrayed as clearly the more sensible character, forever warning her off fraudulent holy men like Philippe Vachod and being ignored. Philippe of course is a confidence trickster, and all characters who oppose Alexandra or harm her in any way are fundamentally evil. No room here for simple misunderstanding; it is a morally one-dimensional book that sounds as if it were written by a child, with historical events introduced in facile conversation (“Is it Karl Marx who tells people to behave like that, Nicky?” “Yes, darling, it’s Karl Marx; they have no money so they look to an outsider for help.”) and the voice of the author passing curious comments on peoples’ behaviour.  (“As Emperor and Empress they should have had more dignity than to use baby talk” – er…why? Surely this was rather less of a problem than their political attitudes?!) Outside the gates of the palaces lurk the people of Russia, a gothic mass with curses and shaking fists, set against the hapless Empress from the start because of her inability to produce the Heir they all think about constantly. The last Tsarina, incidentally, is the only book about the imperial family that reduces any of them to physical stereotype – and to a stereotype that doesn’t exist outside the author’s imagination either: she frequently describes the blond, blue-eyed Nicholas as “dark”, “like all Russians”. Right. OK."

Sorry to be harsh; but sometimes I like to let rip, and the author IS dead so there's no chance she'd read and be hurt by it...  8)

Janet


Offline tea_rose

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Re: Last Tsarina (novel by Ludmila Prole)
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2004, 06:12:18 PM »
 Touche!  Oh well-at least it is only one book in the lot. It doesn't sound like it is worth reading from your review.  I guess I won't be holding on to my copy as I have with the R. T. Stevens. Thanks for the reply..    

Offline Janet_Ashton

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Re: Last Tsarina (novel by Ludmila Prole)
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2004, 01:51:11 PM »
It probably IS worth reading now you've got it - it won't take long, and you might find it funny. I just got terribly jaded from about nine months of reading nothing but Romanov fiction....

Janet
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Janet_Ashton »