After the Romanovs

Russian Exiles in Paris from the Belle Époque Through Revolution and War

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Pub Date 08 Mar 2022 | Archive Date 22 Mar 2022

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From Helen Rappaport, the New York Times bestselling author of The Romanov Sisters comes After the Romanovs, the story of the Russian aristocrats, artists, and intellectuals who sought freedom and refuge in the City of Light.

Paris has always been a city of cultural excellence, fine wine and food, and the latest fashions. But it has also been a place of refuge for those fleeing persecution, never more so than before and after the Russian Revolution and the fall of the Romanov dynasty. For years, Russian aristocrats had enjoyed all that Belle Époque Paris had to offer, spending lavishly when they visited. It was a place of artistic experimentation, such as Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. But the brutality of the Bolshevik takeover forced Russians of all types to flee their homeland, sometimes leaving with only the clothes on their backs.

Arriving in Paris, former princes could be seen driving taxicabs, while their wives who could sew worked for the fashion houses, their unique Russian style serving as inspiration for designers like Coco Chanel. Talented intellectuals, artists, poets, philosophers, and writers struggled in exile, eking out a living at menial jobs. Some, like Bunin, Chagall and Stravinsky, encountered great success in the same Paris that welcomed Americans like Fitzgerald and Hemingway. Political activists sought to overthrow the Bolshevik regime from afar, while double agents from both sides plotted espionage and assassination. Others became trapped in a cycle of poverty and their all-consuming homesickness for Russia, the homeland they had been forced to abandon.

This is their story.

From Helen Rappaport, the New York Times bestselling author of The Romanov Sisters comes After the Romanovs, the story of the Russian aristocrats, artists, and intellectuals who sought freedom and...

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Featured Reviews

I love the Russian history and everything related to the Romanovs, no one does it better than Helen Rappaport and her latest book just add some more information on the after the Romanovs, like the title said... obviously! Ton of interesting facts, event, historical information and all of it very well written. If this subject interest you, than this is a book and an author that you must read!

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After the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport is an excellent nonfiction that gives the reader a glimpse of the events, actions, and lives of the Russian elite, aristocrats, and royalty when they lived in and around Paris after during and after the Russian Revolution of 1917.

I have read several books by Ms. Rappaport and I have enjoyed every one of them. She has always impressed me with her knowledge, research, and wonderful ability of creating an engaging and fascinating narrative out of history and present it in a way that keeps me coming back for more. This is no exception.

I have always been fascinated by Russian History, especially the history of the Romanov dynasty and the Russian Revolution of 1917, so I obviously wanted to read this book.

It was so interesting to see how such a vast array of men and women escape to a location that what once was a vacation destination and now was a city of exiles and escapees from Russia. Their lives dramatically changed in a lot of cases.

Some seemed to blend in better than others. Some seemed to adapt better than their counterparts. Some positive endings with second chances at life, some not. Plenty of examples, and even a list and explanation of names/people are added to help the reader. To me, this was utterly fascinating.

I highly recommend this for anyone interested in not just Russian history, but also WWI and WWII history as well.

5/5 stars

Thank you NG and St. Martin’s Press for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication.

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Publication date: March 8, 2022

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review an advanced reader's copy of this book. This in no way affects my review, all opinions are my own.

This is a wonderful history book that reads easily -it is meticulously researched and written in a way that will appeal to all. Well, at least those Russian princes are not trying to get me to pay the processing fee for a part of their billions in the bank.....oooooh, snarky. #419 I will recommend this book to friends, family, patrons, book clubs, and people reading books in the park as we do … I have had some of my best conversations about books down by the Thames!

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A very informative book about Russia after the Romanovs as well as a look at eastern Europe. This Russian history nerd enjoyed it.

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After the Romanovs: Russian Exiles in Paris from the Belle Epoque Through Revolution and War
By Helen Rappaport

Ms. Rappaport’s newest book on the Romanov’s covers their adventures and experiences in Paris, both before and after the revolution. I found the chapters on what the exiles found when they arrived in Paris and how to coped with the drastic change in their circumstances to be both interesting and very sad.

I’ve read & enjoyed several books by Helen Rappaport and while I read After the Romanovs from cover to cover, I don’t feel it’s one of her better books. Her research is meticulous as always, and the scope of the book is impressive but there was almost too much information. Each chapter is chock full of Former Playboy Princes and Exiled Russian Aristocrats. So many that I often lost track of just who was who, who did what and who was where. I would have enjoyed the book more had the book consisted for fewer characters with more in-depth information on those characters as opposed to brief entries on a vast cast of characters.

Many thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to read the ARC in return for an honest review

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After the Romanovs by H. Rappaport, published by St. Martin's Press, is the story of Russian Exiles in Paris from the Bellé Époque Through Revolution and War.
Bunin, Stravinsky, Chagall are russians who became very successful in Paris. A complex study of history, excellen written, researched.
An intriguing, superb lesson in history set in the nineteen hundereds this book paints a picture I greatly enjoyed, 5 stars.

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An interesting compilation of information about exiled Russians. It a bit of history I hadn't read about before.

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“After the Romanoves” by Helen Rappaport is a well researched non-fiction book about Russian aristocrats, elite, and royalty living in Paris before, during, and after the Russian Revolution of 1917. I found this book to be FULL of footnotes, references, and interesting historical facts. If you are one who enjoys learning more about Russian history during this time period, you may want to add this book to your list of books to read. For me, however, there were a lot of characters to keep track and at times I had to consult the forward list of who was who. I think that if fewer people had been followed, I would have enjoyed the book a lot more - but this is coming from someone with a limited knowledge of the Russian royal extended family and how they coped during this time period. I would give this book a 3.5 star rating, as the research is excellent and I did learn new facts about this time period.

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The tragedy of Tsar Nicholas and his family is well known. What happened to the members of the Romanov family, the aristocracy, the White Russian military and the "regular" folks that escaped from Russia as the communists took control and created the Soviet Union? This book explores the largest community of these exiles in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s. Many barely escaped with their lives and the clothes on their backs and once settled had a very difficult time making a living. Ms. Rappaport has written several books about the Romanovs and Russia, and she does her research. I had a great deal of sympathy for these exiles, but after a while the melancholy of them really started to get on my nerves. "Just get on with life, and stop whinging about Mother Russia and the life you know you'll never have!" Especially the aristocrats, they lived lives of incredible luxury and privilege, and all that disappeared for many of them, and they had to earn an honest living doing very menial jobs (taxi driving, seamstress, waiters) and, like many immigrants, were taken advantage of and paid lower wages. Some, especially the artists just couldn't adapt. Many parallels to our current situation with immigrants (both legal and illegal).

If you enjoy well researched history, especially Russian history you'll enjoy this book. I did. Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.

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The non-fiction book, After the Romanovs is a compelling look at Russian history. History bluffs will enjoy this book.

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My knowledge of this time period was limited to the movies I had seen. The author did extensive research and the information was overwhelming. The elite society and artists loved visiting Paris prior to the Revolution. When the Romanov’s became targets of the Bolshevik Revolution, about 50,000 Russians mostly fled to Paris with only the clothes on their back. They were not a skilled laborer's and had trouble finding work to support themselves. They chose not to assimilate as they planned to return to Russian when it was safe. This book tells some of their stories.

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Helen Rappaport’s “After the Romanovs” is a well-researched, well-written history of the relationship between all manner of Russian citizens and the city of Paris during the period from the late 19th century through the Second World War. It places special emphasis on the period following the Russian Revolution and the so-called “White Russians” who fled Lenin and the Bolsheviks for new but often difficult lives in and around Paris.

The history begins with the pre-WWI “Belle Epoch,” when Paris was a playground for Russian nobility and a performance venue for soon-to-be world-renowned Russian artists such as Nijinsky, Stravinsky, and the Ballet Russes. It then turns to the period following the Russian Revolution and the fall of the Czar when many from that very same nobility—now stripped of much or all of their wealth—emigrated to Paris. Rappaport focuses not only on that nobility, but also on the thousands of middle- and upper-middle-class Russians—doctors, lawyers, educators, soldiers, government workers, etc.— forced to trade their white-collar professions for blue-collar jobs as factory workers, seamstresses, and taxi drivers. The work is filled with anecdotal tales and readers will learn about the post-revolution lives led by not only Czar Nicholas II’s extended family of grand dukes, duchesses, and courtiers, but also by writers, artists, and politicians such as Alexander Kerensky, Marc Chagall, Ivan Bunin, Feodor Chaliapin, and Vladimir Nabokov.

Of course, politics was a huge part of the story of the Russian diaspora and Rappaport covers this adeptly, describing White Russian plans to restore the monarchy as well as Soviet counterespionage to learn those plans and lure various emigres back to Russia to face show trials and execution.

I did find some of the historical, literary, and artistic figures described somewhat obscure. Then again, my knowledge of Russian art and literature is far from comprehensive. What was not obscure was Rappaport’s central message: how very difficult it is to be cut off from one’s country. That message, repeated many times and in many ways, gives “After The Romanovs” a poignancy that far outweighs any occasional obscurity.

All in all, a very interesting read well worth the time.

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A very interesting read! The author provides a detailed look into the lives of members of the Russian aristocracy who lived in or near Paris just before, during and after the Russian Revolution of 1917. I have always been intrigued by the Romanovs, so I definitely enjoyed this. The book reads smoothly and easily, is very well written, and seems thoroughly and impeccably researched. All in all, I found this to be very engaging, and I look forward to reading more from Ms. Rappaport!

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I was pleased to have an opportunity to review this book as an eARC from St. Martin's Press as it fit in perfectly with my Nonfiction November plans, and afforded me a reason to read another history book this month. This book focuses on the Russian emigres who escaped to Paris for (mostly) political reasons after the assassination of Czar Nicholas and his family. These emigres were primarily members of the upper class, many of whom were related in some way to the Romanov family, which was an extensive one with many branches, and the members of the "artistic" class, including writers, painters, and other intellectuals who were attempting to escape the Bolshevik revolution and the class upheaval brought on by that takeover of the government. Obviously there were other Russians who wanted to leave the country during this period, but escaping to live in Paris took funds and connections, and I am sure there are untold stories of Russians who had neither and were unable to escape the new regime and/or whose stories have not been recorded.

Rappaport has done extensive research into the period and it shows in the many details she includes in this book. (Particularly impressive that she was able to write this in COVID 2020 lockdown, relying on her stored records, notes and the assistance of researchers in the UK and France who helped her online since she was not able to complete the travel she had planned before the pandemic.) It is striking how much Parisian life influenced the emigres and how much the Russian culture influenced Parsian thought, art, dance and fashion. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on the Russe Ballet, or the Russian ballet, during its heydey, with mentions of Stravinsky and Nijinsky, and the influence both the composer and the dancer had on modern ballet as we know it today. Also of importance were the relationships that evolved between artists, particularly writers, in the cosmopolitan city that Paris was at the time, including the Fitzgeralds and Hemingway, as well as Russian and French writers who moved in their literary circles.

Of personal interest to me was the discussion on the influence of Russian culture on Coco Chanel and her fashion house. From the design of her famous Chanel No. 5 perfume bottle to her relationship with female members of the Russian nobility who worked in the fashion houses as models, or as pieceworkers providing embroidery for various Chanel design collections, the contribution of Russian culture and style to Chanel's fashion sense was extensive. It is of note to me as well that it appears the Russian women were able to assimilate themselves into the Parisian culture, even if they longed for home, by accepting their reduced circumstances and being willing (and able) to pick up a trade like embroidery or piecework, to make ends meet. This was not often the case with the male members of the aristocracy, who attempted to live at their previously accepted standard of extravagant living without the money to do so, and often wound up adrift and penniless once their smuggled funds ran out.

I enjoyed this extensively researched, comprehensive book on this history of the intertwined fates of the Russian emigres and Paris and its culture in the early 20th century. Fans of Russian or French history in the years between the World Wars will enjoy this one, and particularly those interested in social history as it is influenced by the events of political upheaval and major societal changes in those years.

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304 pages

4 stars

This is the story of the several Russian aristocrats and Russian royalty that managed to escape from the country when the Bolshevik purges began in 1917 or so. Many, many of the nobles were executed, but some were fortunate enough to escape. Most went to Paris. Paris was the city they all loved.

While some struggled to find work, an alien concept to them, some didn’t have a clue. All of their belongings, including the fabulous jewelry and artwork had been confiscated by the authorities.

The book focuses on several individuals and what they made of, or did not make of, themselves. The stories are very sad for the most part, but some of them, mostly the women, rose above it all and make a new life for themselves.

This is an excellently written and well researched book. I thoroughly enjoyed it, as I have other Helen Rappaport books.

I want to thank NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for forwarding to me a copy of this interesting book for me to read, enjoy and review. The opinions expressed here are solely my own.

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Great historical nonfiction read! Highly recommend it to fans of the genre and those looking to expand their reading circle. Purchasing for library.

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I have just finished reading After the Romanovs by Author Helen Rappaport.

I went into this book not quite knowing what to expect, as I really know very little about the Romanovs, and especially their presence in Paris.

This was an exceptionally well researched and detailed book with so much history and information. Helen Rappaport is an expert in this field.

I found the book to be very interesting and engaging. I also found it a little exhausting as it progressed with so many names, dates, and facts.

However, I will search out more work from the author, and also recommend it to any reader with an interest in history, and the era.

Thank You to Netgalley, Author Helen Rappaport, and St. Martin's Press for my advanced copy to read and review.

#AfterTheRomanovs #NetGalley
[NetGalley URL]

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Kindle Copy for Review from Net Galley and St. Martin's Press.

I received a free, advance copy of this book and this is my unbiased and voluntary review.

It is an intriguing look at the Romanovs’ sisters after their exile from Russia to Paris. Their struggles as the start fresh in a world they did not exist for them before. A charming read for history bluffs.

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This is a really good addition to the canon of information regarding the Romanv's (Tsar Nicholas II) and their varied extended family who emigrated to Paris during & after the Russian Revolution. I give great credit to the author for making the various family members and their relationship to the Tsar understand-able. SO many Russioan names and characters and yet it rarely becomes confusing! The Russian diaspora in France (esp. Paris) before during & after the revolution is explored with sensitivity and the cultural shifts from pre-revolution to post revolution are well researched. I really enjoyed this fascinating account of a period of time that is not often brought out in the history books.
Highly recommended for fans of Russian revolutionary history.

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After reading a few fiction books on Russian royalty, it is quick a refresher to read a nonfiction on what happened to many whom sought refuge in Paris. Eye-opening with so many historical accounts, After the Romanovs is a definite read for history lover.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the pleasure of reading After the Romanovs.

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I've read quite a Few of Rappaport's books on the Romanovs, and have always enjoyed her writing style. This book is no different, though the subject and scope are. Spanning the decades between the Russian revolution and WWII, this book gives readers a glimpse of the lives of Russians living in Paris. Many of these people were forced out or left during the revolution, and despite a love of their homeland, never returned to Russia. The people Rappaport focuses on is primarily the former aristocracy and writers, as they left the most records behind. I never knew much about this period, the only familiarity I had with it was the animated Anastasia movie (and surprise, it wasn't accurate), so most everything was new to me. I liked hearing more about the extended Romanov family members that managed to make it out of Russia, and how others outside the family were affected by the revolution and their exile from home. While this book covers a lot of ground, the focus is on a handful of big names, making it easy to follow.

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I enjoy studying about the British and Russian monarchies. I've read and own quite a few books about the Romanovs. Helen Rappaport is very good at this. So many of the Romanov exiles were left adrift after the first world war. Rappaport delves into their journey here and she is quite good.

My thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book.

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"After the Romanovs" opens in a relatively light fashion as wealthy Russians, among them Romanovs, enjoy vacations and visits to France. Paris is a playground for them. Artists of all kinds flock there to rub shoulders with the elite of the world. Stars like Nijinsky shine. Intellectuals sought both rest and creativity, some even rubbing shoulders with a Russian visitor named Lenin. Yes, that Lenin.

Needless to say, the tone of the book switches gears quickly after the Russian Revolution and assassination of the Tsar and his family. The Romanovs were now targets for the new regime. Many of those who once sought amusement or simply enjoyed the thriving creativity to be found in Paris found themselves fleeing to Paris once again, this time as refugees. Now largely penniless and unable to find work, this is their story. Even the mysterious Anastasia makes an appearance in the book.

Watching this history unfold was at once both saddening and fascinating. The emotions of those in exile swung wildly from optimistic and hopeful for a return to Russia to lost and simply desperate to survive. Few had any practical skills and they were cut off from the past fortunes. The manner in which the French accepted them, of course, also varied. The Jazz Age occurred post revolution but the emigres, many of whom had never worked a day in their lives, were usually too busy trying just to stay alive with a roof over their heads and something to eat and wear, to be caught up in it. Interestingly enough, it was some of the female emigres who perhaps came closest, particularly those who found employment with Chanel or in the garment industry. Former duchesses found themselves doing piecework and embroidering to support their families. You might find yourself being seated at a ritzy restaurant by a former duke or driven about town by a taxi driver with royal connections. Rappaport writes at one point that the unifying thread between them all seemed to be a "solidarity in poverty". Starvation and suicide were common.

Even though I found it a bit difficult to keep the names straight in my head -- I found myself scrolling back-and-forth frequently -- I found the book fascinating. The author has done extensive research and the amount of information she shares is almost staggering. You'll also see the birth of the current communist society which, even then, especially after Stalin's ascent, used spies and kidnapping to its benefit both against its own countrymen and the Russian emigres. There's much to take in here and kudos to author Rappaport for sharing her research with us in such a readable fashion.

Thanks to #NetGallery and #StMartinsPress for the ARC. Even as a former history major and teacher, I came away with not just a more thorough knowledge of the post Russian Revolution emigres but history in general.

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Paris was a playground for the Russian nobles before the Revolution, a place to spend lavishly and love freely. After the slaughter of the Tsar’s family and friends, it became expedient for these nobles to run, carrying what valuables they could manage. And so the community grew, never feeling welcome. Some advanced in the arts and fashion, but many remained taxi drivers, mechanics and manual laborers. Reduced to menial jobs, they bonded together to feel a semblance of home and culture. Dreaming of a return to old Russia, they named a successor to the throne, debated the validity of “Princess Anastasia,” survived the French President’s assassination by an emigre, and met in Church to keep their faith alive. Distrust, jealousy and suspicion among the community was constant. Economic recession added to the melancholy; suicide became a solution. Some returned to their homeland in time for another world war. Helen Rappaport provides a tremendous amount of research. Reading of stars of the ballet, mingling with fashion designers and literary greats is fascinating, a who’s who of Russian notables. I learned much about this period. The amount of information is challenging, but in the end worth the effort.

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Dr. Helen Rappaport is a well known author of historical nonfiction. She tells the tale of the Romanovs and those in their circle with a deft writing style. She weaves the stories of the Belle Epoque with the harsh reality of those who escaped persecution with little to nothing.
Some books of this genre are a mere recitation of facts, but not so with After the Romanovs. The reader is captured with Rappaport's skill in crafting an enticing narrative.

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A fabulous but heartbreaking history of displaced peoples from Russia mostly to Paris but also Berlin and then to the United States during WWII. Imagine that the world is your oyster, that you have unbelievable power and prestige and then the next day that your whole world comes crashing down and you find that your assets are gone, and you must drive a taxi or haul coal just to survive and eat.

That you must travel almost 3,000 km to a foreign land that while opening its doors to you and your people - speaks a foreign language and has completely different customs and laws. Eventually, even this country turns against you and your people because you have taken over so many jobs, at below-market wages, that locally born citizens find it challenging to find employment.

Through the hardship, sorrows, and longing for your homeland more than a few happy stories can be found. Russian women had a large impact on the Paris fashion scene with their intricate and delicate sewing and fashion designs.

This book was so very well written it is sure to keep your interest. Chock full of references and research that could keep you reading about the impact of Russians in France for years if you were so inclined.

I highly recommend that you pick this book up and learn more about these displaced people - it will open your eyes, mind, and should open your heart by putting modern-day movements of those economically and socially displaced from their homes in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Africa towards Europe and the West; and the impact of people from Central and South America towards America and Canada.

Thank you to the author Helen Rappaport, the publisher St. Martin's Press; and to Net Galley for the advance copy in return for my honest opinion. I have not received any compensation nor interference in the posting of my review which remains my truthful thoughts on this book.

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After the Romanovs is a fascinating look into the flight of "White Russians" (those of the privileged class and intelligentsia) into different parts of Europe, especially Paris. The author's extensive research is mind-boggling, because she covers the lives of both the aristocrats as well as poets and artists.

Even though was a non-fiction, informative historical piece of work, it was also entertaining. I kept Googling the different characters to learn more about them. It was a challenge keeping up with all those Russian names though!

A fantastic read for anyone interested in Russian history.

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Coming into this with limited knowledge of Russian-Franco ties during the period, I feel like I learned a lot! While France wasn't home to Russian exiles, it was familiar and the author does a good job of showing that. I loved how this work painted a picture of a truly multinational city.

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I have always been fascinated by the Romanovs; the entire dynasty. So when I was given the chance to read this book, I grabbed it. It isn’t about JUST the Romanov family, it’s about the history of Russians living in Paris starting in the late 1800’s. At first, just the very wealthy, royalty and nobility in the main, were able to spend vacations or “The Season” in Paris. Later, around 1900 came the immigrants who voluntarily or involuntarily fled to Paris. This included not just political exiles but poets, writers, artists, ballet dancers and others. This included religious and economic exiles such as members of the Ashkenazi Jewish community from the area of eastern Russia where they were allowed to live, known as “The Pale.”

The author discusses groups by chapters but also interconnects the various groups as she goes deeper into the narrative. The first chapter is about Russian nobility flocking to Paris to indulge their desire for luxury, starting in the 1800s. Their spending was on par with that of current Russian oligarchs.

Author Helen Rappaport introduces dancers and others associated with them such as Diaghilev and Stravinsky. Diaghilev was the founder of the famous Ballets Russe dance troupe. Stravinsky became world famous while working with the Ballets Russe in Paris prior to WWI. The author includes a lot of detail about the premieres of the Stravinsky ballets in Paris: “The Firebird,” “The Rite of Spring,” and “Parade.” The premieres were rocky, especially that for “The Rite of Spring,” but they made Stravinsky legendary.

The discussion really hits its stride when talking about the very poor immigrants that came to Paris, most of whom were starving and living in appalling conditions. This group cut across classifications but included artists, writers, poets, and others. The famous painter Marc Chagall, born into a Lithuanian Jewish Hasidic family in the Russian Empire, lived in Paris for a time until WWI, when he returned home to marry. He left Russia again for Paris in 1923.

There is detail on the exertions of the extended Romanov family to flee Russia, with many failures ending in their murders. At a certain point, Lenin must’ve known his enemy was broken, but instead he went for revenge. Revenge against anyone carrying the DNA of the Romanovs. Why? I don’t think the poverty of the peasant and working classes is a good answer for this.

The book goes on to detail how Russians as a group lived as emigres in Paris. How did they? Rather poorly, although the French Government graciously did help some. The rest really scratched to pay their way as their valuables did not command even a fraction of pre-WWI sales prices. Grand Duke Alexander’s (“Sandro”) numismatic collection sold for only 5% of its pre-war value, and a few belongings were all that most of the refugees could smuggle out.

On the other hand, as an example of a more successful outcome, the story of Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovna and his sister Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna is followed. Dmitri had an affair with Coco Chanel which led to Maria being employed as a seamstress and embroiderer in Chanel’s workshop. That was great for Maria’s survival but she soon discovered that the French workers became jealous and cold toward her, afraid that other Russians would take their jobs. This was a common experience for Russian emigres. Maria worked 12-14 hours per day producing embroidered sweaters, blouses, and tunics for Chanel’s 1922 collection. Dmitri went on to become a spokesman for champagne when Chanel began a long-term relationship with the Duke of Westminster. Neither did particularly well for themselves but managed better than most Russians.

The story of Dmitri and Maria is illustrative of many of this volume’s stories of Russian refugees; the men were handsome but lost in their tragedy, the women became ingenious and successful entrepreneurs, at least for a time. Between 1922 and 1935, 27 fashion houses were thus established by Russian immigrants. But fashion wasn’t the only area that the Russians conquered. Many of the men, particularly those out of the military, drove cabs, acted as doormen, and waiters. They were noted and sought out for their manners and good behavior.

And the stories of struggle, tragedy, and survival after great tragedy continue from there.

This is really a well-written book that clearly took a lot of time to research. There is tremendous detail about how Russian immigrants in general fared, as well as about the jobs that they were allowed to perform. France was well-regulated and training and licensure were expensive; immigrants could not do everything. This was probably the first great wave of refugees in Europe in the 20th Century. It’s interesting to compare the Russian immigrant crisis with more recent immigrant crises.

I have to point out a sentence at about 40% of the galley, that a man named Rubakhan “…still kept the Russian festivals and an icon burning in the corner….” I don’t think so. I’m sure he had candles burning in front of the icon.

This book explores artists known and unknown to me. Many are grand names that I have heard or seen referenced: Pavlova, Diaghilev, Stravinsky, Chagall, Nabokov. Finally I understand a little bit more about what drove their art and the general Russian melancholia of the early 20th Century. Suicide, alcoholism, and drug dependency were rife amongst the destitute population. I can understand why.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press, author Helen Rappaport, and NetGalley for allowing me to read the eGalley of this book prior to publication. I have received nothing for my review which contains only my own, original opinions. I am posting this review to NetGalley, Goodreads, and my Twitter and Facebook accounts at this time. Upon publication of the book, I will also post to Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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What a fascinating story! The contrast between the pre-Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary experience of Russians in Paris was illuminating and stunning in its stark contrasts. I found the individual stories as fascinating as the overarching descriptions of the period and the political upheaval that ensued. It was a very interesting book about a very interesting time and the evolution of contemporary Russia is, I think, definitely traceable to some of the attitudes and experiences going back to the Revolution...

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After the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport is a great book, very informative and heart breaking especially what happened.

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I want to thank Netgalley and the author for gifting me the ebook. I love soaking up anything and everything that involves history. I highly recommend this book.

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historical-figures, historical-places-events, historical-research, historical-setting, history-and-culture, nonfiction*****

Russians in Paris before the Bolsheviks is a detailed account of the marvelous (from Nijinsky! the ballet! the music! to Singer of sewing machines), the overindulgent (excessive spending in food/jewelry/debauchery by the Russian aristocrats and the benefits to Paris.
Then the Great War followed by Revolution and elimination of the tsar and immediate family forcing the rest into exile.
Once again, the aristocracy returned to Paris, this time as poor exiles. Some were able to smuggle valuables with them to England, Finland, Japan, and the US, but they were a minority and the overarching hope of all was the great homesickness for Mother Russia.
The info is comprehensive, but the writing is more like a Publish or Perish.
I requested and received a free ebook copy from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley. Thank you!

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In the Omar Sharif Dr. Zhivago, there is a scene where the doctor and his family are camped on railroad tracks waiting for a rumoured train that will take them from the horror show formerly known as Moscow. The good doctor and his good family have suffered the ire of the Bolsheviks and must flee. Home, friends, neighborhoods, schools, their entire life, gone; the only thing left is themselves. It is a frightening scene. It is a heartbreaking one, too.

And it is an encapsulation of this entire book: what happens to people when the new Soviet regime takes over? Everything everyone believed and counted on is now regarded as crime, so, your choices are: denounce everything you used to believe in, join the new regime, fight the new regime, or flee. Helen Rappaport focuses on those who fled to Paris, already a favored Russian destination long before Lenin raised his self-righteous head.

She does an excellent job setting the stage by describing the Belle Epoque, Russian style, and, after reading about some of the Russian antics, you can well understand the storming of Winter Palaces. Some of those Russian princes deserved a date with the guillotine. But not all of them. Not everyone.

Her description of the Bolshevik takeover and what they did to the former ruling class and their supporters is Zhivago at the train tracks. But that’s nothing compared to the exile across Russia in unseaworthy ships and frozen wastelands and refugee status in Constantinople…oh good Lord. It’s an untold story made starkly clear, and it is unpleasant, to understate things.

This book suffers from the same problem of any Russian book- more characters than you can safely carry around in a backpack and it is easy to lose track of who is who and where they are, especially if you, like me, are not that familiar with Russian names or relationships. A list of those would be nice. And where’s Trotsky?

Once everybody has found their way to Paris, life among the exiles becomes an ‘Oh well!” kind of existence. Maybe that’s the Russian psyche, I don’t know, but my sympathies lie with the hapless White Russian generals who still hold that forlorn hope of winning it all back. They come across as somewhat clown-like and I suppose that’s true; they still believed in a chivalry and class structure that they helped destroy during WW1. They simply don’t understand how ruthless a Bolshevik can be, and that makes them vulnerable.

Those with a schadenfreude bent will take some pleasure at the exiles’ sufferings. After all, what an oppressive exploitive society that richly deserved everything that happened to it.

But no one should be forced onto winter laden train tracks in fear of their lives. No one.

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After the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport was a compelling read and I enjoyed every page. I have always been fascinated with the Romanov dynasty and the Russian Revolution, but I didn't know that many Russian exiles who moved to Paris during and after the Revolution. Rappaport pulled back the curtain on a place and time in history that greatly impacted WWI and WW@ and still resonates today. Highly recommend!!

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I received this book as an ARC and this is my review. This book chronicles the difficult years following the fall of the Tsar and the Romanov dynasty in Russia. It is filled with meticulously researched information and biographic data about well- and little-known Russian refugees who left their country to survive the Revolution. I totally recommend this story to readers who are curious about the plight of these historical figures and their contribution to world history.

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Helen Rappaport’s latest book is a thought-provoking and compelling story about Russian emigrants before and after the Russian Revolution. During the early years of the 20th century in Paris, the Russian aristocracy enjoyed opulent lifestyles with connections to the musical and visual arts. The high society of Russia was influenced by the French language and fashion, while the wealthy Parisians were affected by Russian culture, especially in the arts of literature, ballet, music and opera.

After the Bolsheviks gained power, there were few surviving members of the Romanov family. Some were able to escape with thousands of other Russians to Greece and France. Their lives went from riches to rags within a decade. The list of emigrants at the beginning of the book was quite helpful. Some lived long and meaningful lives, while others never adjusted to their new surroundings. Thank you to Net Galley for providing this book.

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What happened to the Russian Aristocracy after the Revolution? Where did they go to escape persecution? Why did the Tzars prefer to flee to Paris? In “After the Romanovs”, Helen Rappaport answers these questions and enlightens the reader to the fate of Russian’s Royalty. I consider her the upmost authority on Russian history! If Russian Aristocracy is your subject, then I highly recommend this latest book by Helen Rappaport to include in your personal library.

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This well done nonfiction tells the story of Russians in Paris. I appreciated that Rappaport gives us the history leading up to the Revolution. She starts at the turn of the century, contrasting the haves and the have nots of the Russians. The money spent by the aristocracy boggled my mind and gave me a much better understanding of what led to the revolution. The have nots included mostly artists (like Chagall), writers and musicians.
Once the Revolution took place, I was shocked at the number of emigres that made it out of Russia and to Europe. I had to give credit to these aristocrats, who were forced to take on menial work. As was said at the time “the men drive taxis and the women sew for a living.”
I had wondered why France was so willing to take on so many emigres. The answer lies in the loss of lives during WWI and the need for labor.
The book is very detailed, giving many specific examples of what happened to individual aristocrats. There’s a very small tidbit about George Orwell’s friendship with an emigre working as a waiter. I couldn’t help but wonder if this didn’t play into his anti-communist works.
As would be expected, it’s a sad book. Few succeeded, there were a meaningful number of suicides. The depression and then WWII added to their troubles. And in the end, the younger generation assimilated into French culture.
My thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance copy of this book.

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This was an interesting read. Chronological record of the Romanov which I am interested in, so this book was very enlightening to me. I truly enjoyed it and learned so much!

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I enjoyed this book. It was very interesting and informative. If I had to critique one thing I'd say the chapters are too long. They'd be fine if there were subsections but a 30 minute chapter is long for any nonfiction book. I did learn a lot too.

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Interesting (unknown to me) Russian history and very well researched. It was difficult in an e book to go back and forth remembering the characters. I would definitely get this in a hard copy.

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Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for a preview copy of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

There was a lot of interesting information and history to be gleaned. There was history of the opulence and cruelty in the reign of the Romanovs; there was history of the artistic communities in Paris; there was history of the American ex-pats in Paris; there was history of the economic and political situation in Europe. Yes, this book covered a lot and it also included specifics for various Russian emigres: what they ate, where they lived, potty arrangements, debauchery and sexual liaisons. It covered a LOT.

Readers wishing to know more about the above will find a wealth of information in this book.

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An interesting look at what became of the Russian aristocrats during the Bolshevik revolution. Helen Rappaport has a way of writing non-fiction that really draws you in and makes you want to keep reading. History buffs rejoice, you will love this one! A big thank you to St. Martin's Press and to NetGalley for providing me with this ARC.

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I never really considered myself interested in Russian history in general but the title was intriguing and I received this as an ARC.
Totally worth it.
While dense with information, the author manages to flow naturally between topics and figures. (Each chapter is dedicated to one subject, like authors or artists and various renowned figures are discussed within each). It would have been easy to stick with the behaviors or opinions of one or two individuals at a time and the author is careful to stick with the subjects rather than overload the reader with trivia.
I rate this 5 stars for being both incredibly informative while being readable to a previously uninterested layperson. Given the meticulous bibliography and references, I am hardly the target audience and I genuinely enjoyed the book.

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Even before WWI and the Russian Revolution, aristocrats, dancers, musicians and artists found their way to Paris from the Russian empire. There were several grand dukes, uncles to Nicholas II, some notorious for misbehavior, but most all of them supportive of the arts. Ballet Russes with Sergey Diaghilev changed ballet with his association with now well- known musicians and artists, especially Vaslav Nijinsky, Igor Stravinsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov. Montparnasse became the heart of bohemian society, many Jewish peoples escaped from pogroms and settled in Marais and Paris became full of political rival groups. Many Russians returned to Russia for WW I, then fled in 1917-18 when the Bolsheviks prevailed. Some fled with jewelry and other valuables, but many arrived with nothing. Rappaport focuses on those who faced their new reality with hope and actually working like Grand Duchess Maria Pavlova, who used her embroidery and sewing skills to survive. She stuck to her own narrow class of aristocratic exiles but did help them survive with needlework jobs when she started working for Chanel, Between the years 1922-35, twenty-seven fashion houses were established in Paris by Russian emigres. Many males found work as taxi drivers or at Renault car factories. Rappaport also tells the stories of many writers and other emigres who just could not let go of the past and slowly faded away or committed suicide and there were divisions when one of the Grand Dukes claimed to be the new czar. At first France welcomed the emigres because they had lost so many men during the war and there were jobs, but then the Depression hit, and emigres of any nationality were not wanted. Rappaport says there are not many sources for information for the truly poor emigres who fled the Bolsheviks but there were many. However, one former aristocrat who particularly stands out is Elizaveta Pilenko who opened a House of Hospitality that was like a homeless shelter and soup kitchen for any in need of help and became known as Mother Mary Skobtsova. When France was invaded by the Nazis, she was sent to a prison camp and murdered. I have enjoyed other books by Ms. Rappaport and found this one easy to read and informative. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

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After the Romanvs by Helen Rappaport is a thoroughly detailed book well written book on the after lives of the fallen russian families. The rich mainly that were able to escape the downfall etc. The intricate plots woven around emigre with footnotes to back up and help the reader to understand in detail the relationship. A lot of the stories yank at your emotions due to how sad and tragically well known these stories are. It feels as if so many questions are answered including movements and plots.

Great chance for an exciting read! Don't forget March 08 2022!

I was given this ARC by net galley in exchange for an Honest review. Amazing book.

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I really enjoyed this book by Helen Rappaport. It was very well done and interesting. Would definitely recommend this to anyone.

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My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher St. Martin's Press for a advanced copy of this European history book.

Paris was not only the City of Lights, but to the Russian counts and countesses before the revolution in their motherland that would cost the world so much, Paris was their playground. Obscene amounts of money would be spent, some on art, but mostly on baubles, bangles and fashionable gowns, until the reckoning of the tsar's overthrow made their playground their refuge. Helen Rappaport in her book After the Romanovs: Russian Exiles in Paris from the Belle Époque Through Revolution and War describes this time from the glittering beginnings to the darkness that came as World War II and more revolutions scattered these exiles further.

The book is highly researched, and extremely well written, with numerous sourcing and footnotes. There are a lot of people and titles and family, and family ties to keep track of and Ms. Rappaport does a very good job of keeping them clear and easy to follow in the narrative. Ms. Rappaport delves into politics, art, science and all sorts of intriguing facts and discourses about the exile community in Europe, things that I was unaware of. Some of the stories are happy, most seem sad, and as Ms. Rappaport states, finding stories for the unsuccessful was a tad more difficult, history is never really written by the losers or the disenfranchised, those that she writes about are very tragic.

Another part I found interesting was the need for France to open its borders, from losses sustained in the World War. And how willing they were to have emigres, until the Depression made that difficult and immigration was reduced to practically nothing. A very diverse history about a tumultuous time in Europe between the wars, a book that will appeal to many different readers.

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A compelling and intriguing look at the lives of the Russian aristocrats dispersed after the fall of the czar and the collapse of the country. AFTER THE ROMANOVS delivers a glittering and richly researched portrait of life among the dispossessed--and a portrait, too, of Paris and its denizens. Highly recommended.

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Fascinating look at the Russian royal family, and specifically, the extended family members who survived the Russian revolution. Unlike most books I have read about the Romanovs and others, all of the information in this book was new to me... and it was fascinating. Thank you so much to St Martins Press for this book! I really enjoyed it!

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Extensively researched and intelligently written, I learned quite a lot from this book, which is one reason I go into these sorts. It wasn't dry and tended to be quite easy to read for the most part - I say 'for the most part', because the translations were inconsistent and there were French and Russian words peppered throughout, causing me to pause reading to then look up what all of these meant. I am not too sure on the reasoning behind translating some things over others and it was a minor inconvenience, however, I enjoyed the read enough to see it through.

Depending on my mood, I either appreciated the abundance of quotes provided or found some to be like those times you had to write a paper that had a word/page count, but you were struggling to meet said requirement and defaulted to adding as many source quotes as possible. Again, that shouldn't deter you from reading this if you're a history buff or at all interested in the Romanovs and their circles of Russian elites, the Russian revolution, or emigration of one exiled culture and peoples to another country. It just, I don't know, made the flow funky or something.

I also had a personal resonation at one point, as I hadn't realized/put two and two together that the exodus of Russians occurred when my own ancestors from Armenia were escaping their country. When Rapport mentioned Russians boarding vessels that also contained fleeing Armenians, it was alarming to realizing just how much discord and turmoil was happening in that part of the world, and the strains undertaken by neighboring countries as they took in refugees, willingly or not.

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After the Romanovs is a bit of a misnomer as the title of this book, as Rappaport begins covering Russia and its elites several decades prior to the execution of the Tsar and his family and the rise of the Bolsheviks and continues through mainly to the beginning of World War II. This does help establish the stark contrast though, between the lives members of the upper class were able to live in Paris prior to either fleeing or being forcibly removed from Russia. The “before” period is without a doubt the story of decadence – jewelry, high fashion, the upper crust of society in music and entertainment. And oh, how the mighty have fallen several decades later. With no funds to live off of, no practical skills for many and few jobs available for those with practical skills, the former Grand Dukes and Grand Duchesses are forced into menial labor to survive and artists, musicians and writers struggle to reconcile the world they now live in against the one that shaped and influenced them. Rappaport covers the full gamut, and at times the book is richer for it by showing a full experience of every type of Russian émigré but it also bogs it down; trying to keep all of the different people and their occupations (or lack thereof) can be a struggle. Any reader that has a great love of where they come from will certainly empathize with the Russians removed from their homeland; it may be more difficult to generate sympathy for Grand Dukes used to showering jewels on mistresses being forced to work as taxi drivers. The author shows that there are those that acknowledge their circumstances and learn to adapt, but there are many that struggle to reconcile that a pampered existence is no longer theirs for the taking and prefer to live in the past – and their glory years. A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Ms. Rappaport has given us a well-researched story of Paris before and after the Russian Revolution and what led to the downfall of the Romanov dynasty.

Paris has always been a gathering place for culture. The food, the fashion, the ex-pats, including the Russian aristocracy. The Russians brought money and spent it almost obscenely. And those descriptions go a long way to explaining the Bolshevik’s rage and brutal acts. Those who escaped were those who had either thought ahead or the ones who ran with only what they could carry.

In Paris, these same former royals were doing menial labor along with their families. Paris welcomed everyone. Artists, writers, and even spies. Some did very well and some did very poorly.

The research in this book is spot on. I have always had a fascination with the Romanovs and this book went a long way in explaining the politics and the Romanovs.

Very Well Done!

NetGalley/ March 8th, 2022 by St. Martin’s Press

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I received After the Romanovs as an ARC through Netgalley. Before reading this book I had a very limited knowledge of the Romanovs and no idea about large amount of emigration to Paris from Russia before and after the rise of Lenin and death of the last Czar. I cannot imagine the amount of time and research Helen Rappaport put into writing this book. While there are a lot people that are written about from before WWI to WWII, reading it in chunks made it seem less overwhelming. To flee the country to love to escape prosecution and in some cases death, with just jewels and some belongings and no idea how you'd make a living had to be a harrowing journey for many. Paris became a haven for many Russian aristocrats who then had to reinvent themselves from nobility to dress makers, factory workers, taxi drivers, and many other professions they never thought they would be pursuing.

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I want to thank NetGalley for obtaining a copy of this book for my review.
The book starts after the Russian revolution but prior to WWI where Paris was during a time of Belle Epoche . It was a time where the nobility of Russians found Paris as a playground for the wealthy.
Music and the ballet came to Paris, writers and artists. Like Chagall. Fashion evolved in Paris with the Russian help.
. But, when the Czar Nicholas lost power the nobility fled Russia with there clothes on their backs. Women dragged their jewels to sell for money.
It was a hard life for the Nobel folks to give up their lives. They became seamstresses and men drove taxes. There are many examples of what happened to various people. If you do not follow Russian history and the Romanovs it became difficult to keep track of everyone. The research is impressive. The Russians found their own area with a church, school, hospital and a home for those lacking care.. The military tried to stay together. But the Russians had their own spies. The book details the despair, and hopeless feeling, the depression of the destitute.
Eventually the Russians came to Paris and the Russians
and Jews fled to other countries including the USA.
It is quite the endeavor to tackle such detail of a period of Russian life..If you are into an excellent historical account of this period go for it.

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Author Helen Rappaport gives us a glimpse of what life was like for the Russians, artistic exiles and refugees, who arrived in Paris in the late 19th and early 20th century and reveals how the city of light offered them a chance to reinvent themselves.

I enjoyed the way this book was organized. It was necessary to see the luxury and excess the Russian elite enjoyed in Russia so that we could see what a transition it was for them to become dressmakers, taxi drivers, and menial workers in order to survive. It must have been difficult to balance a love of heritage and all that shaped them with a love of a new country and all it offered them. Those who adapted and lived for the future did well. Those who didn’t, found out the hard way. I also appreciated being reminded that the influence was a two-way street; the Parisian artists were influenced by the Russian literature, ballet and opera while the Russians were influenced by the French fashion, food, and joie de vivre existence.

I had difficulty in keeping up with the vast number of people discussed and was wondering if it might have been easier to flip to the cast of characters list had I had a paper copy as opposed to my ebook.

This intriguing and extremely well-researched book is a must have for all who love following the Romanovs and with those with knowledge of the artists of the Belle Époque as well as the Russian Revolution and the civil war.

I was gifted this advance copy by Helen Rappaport, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.

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I'm fascinated by Russian history, especially the Romanovs and the fall of the Tsars. This book was packed with information I'd never heard or read before. Maybe a bit dense and erudite, but still very interesting.

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Helen Rappaport has written several books about the Romanovs, and the Russian Revolution and its aftermath. They are well researched and have been well received. After the Romanovs, her latest, is due March 8th from St Martin's Press. The focus here is on the Russian émigré community in Paris. Many Russians, including members of the royal Romanov clan, fled Russia because of the Revolution. Many of them went to Paris.

Rappaport opens her book by exploring the Russian presence in Paris at the turn of the twentieth century. Paris had been a “home away from home” for the Russian aristocracy since at least the reign of Peter the Great. By the 1900s it was referred to as the capital of Russia outside of Russia. The countries were also politically aligned (much to the annoyance of Kaiser Wilhelm).

The prewar years were a golden age for Franco-Russian relations and for Russians in France. The Tsar and his family visited to great acclaim in 1896, and several Russian Grand Dukes were frequent visitors and part-time residents. Many of the Russian Dukes and Duchesses maintained second homes in Paris, where they loved to shop and entertain lavishly.

Through the 1900s the French were becoming increasingly interested in Russian arts and literature. The Russian entrepreneur Sergey Diaghilev had great success raising money from the Paris based Russian aristocracy to support bringing Russian art and artists to French audiences. He produced magazines, art exhibits, opera and dance performances (featuring Nijinsky, Pavlova, Stravinsky and others).

The Russians in France lost all this prewar sophistication and extravagance after the 1917 Revolution. With the success of the Bolsheviks and their Red Army, many royal family members fled Russia with little more than the clothes on their backs. They were followed by other refugees and members of the losing White Army. The highest numbers ended up in Paris and Berlin. In Paris the ultimate number is estimated to be upwards of 50,000 people.

With no funds and no passports, the post-revolutionary Russians in Paris struggled. Many held out hope for the fall of the Soviet government well into the 1930s. They tended to focus within their own community. Many were not inclined to assimilate into French society.

Poverty beset many of them. Those who had been Dukes and Princes found themselves on the assembly line in the Renault factory, or driving cabs. Their wives earned meager wages as seamstresses.

Over time, Parisians became less sensitive to the Russian émigré’s plight, and as the Depression set in, began to see them as job poachers.

The book spends most of its time highlighting the postwar years. Readers steeped in the history of the Romanovs and of Russia may find some names familiar, but I suspect many other names will not be. For lovers of history who are not Russophiles, like myself, many of the tales told in the book will involve characters you’ve not heard of before, aside from perhaps Nabokov and Chagall. Some of the tales are interesting. Most, sadly, are depressing.

The sheer volume of names cited and stories told in this well researched book proved a bit of a challenge to me. It was not a "straight-through" reading experience. I found it better to dip into a chapter or two and then walk away for a bit and absorb what I’d read. But I kept coming back and was rewarded with a much better understanding of the fate of the losing side of the Russian Revolution.

If you have read and enjoyed any of Rappaport’s other Russia centered books, you’ll no doubt find this one just as enlightening. For me, this was a Three and a Half Star ⭐⭐⭐🌠 trip into a world I knew next to nothing about beforehand.

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I am a big sucker for history, and I love Russian history specifically (I have history phases, I am in a russian one right now, lol.) so this was honestly the perfect non fiction for me. I mostly read fiction so this was definitely an experience. I always wondered what happened to the Romanovs after the 1914 revolution so I really read this with interest. It was very well researched and organized and I think Helen Rappaport style of writing really made me enjoy the read even more.

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A thorough and illuminating look at the Russian exodus to Paris before, during, and after the Russian Revolution.

Before reading this, I was only moderately aware of the number of Russian citizens - aristocrats, artists, writers, musicians, and intellectuals alike - who sought refuge in the City of Light at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. It was fascinating to learn how many people fled to what was once a vacation destination for them, a cultural hub of decadence and indulgence, and see it become a place of exile and refuge from persecution instead.

In fact, by 1930, I learned there were over 43,250 Russians living in the twenty Paris arrondissements, with another 9,500 in the other suburbs. That's a staggering number! I was shocked to know there were that many emigres. Clearly this was not something I remember being taught in history class.

It was also gutting to read about the struggles, the cyclical nature of poverty and homesickness that many faced, which resulted in things like feelings of disgrace, alienation, frustration, and sometimes led to suicide. Job opportunities were scarce as well, so the vast majority of emigrants worked in car manufacturing, construction, or industry. Few were able to find work in France that matched the professional expertise they had attained in Russia so they took menial jobs in order to make a living. Men often became taxi drivers, for instance, while women, if they could sew, would work for fashion houses.

There were those who were fortunate enough to find success, however. Bunin, Stravinsky, and Chagall are a few reputable standouts. Ballerinas were rather chic for a time as well, with the Ballet Russes becoming an extremely influential part of Paris' Russian emigre culture. I found myself enthralled by all the ways in which Russian culture rubbed off on Paris, and likewise, how much Parisian culture rubbed off on Russian exiles--especially a generation or two down the line.

It was difficult to keep up with the number of people who were being discussed at times, for some were more obscure or unknown to me, and the layout of their profession/influence/importance wasn't always as clear as I would've liked, but I am happy to have read this book. It was well-researched and enlightening. In addition to that, it helped broaden my understanding of the history surrounding both the pinnacle and the fall of the Romanovs.

Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the ARC.

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After the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport is a beautifully written look into the world of Russian emigres in Paris after the Russian Revolution. Written in a lyric and readable style, Rappaport takes readers on a journey through Paris, both the beautiful and the mundane. Focusing on those who became famous artists, composers, and trendsetters to those whose life outside Russia did not translate beyond obscurity in their new country., Rappaport lends color to a forgotten time in history. After the Romanovs is a well-researched, enjoyable read and worth adding to your library.

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In high school a fellow chorus member told me her heritage was White Russian. Here I am, some fifty-plus years later, finally understanding her family history in the pages of After the Romanovs. I had garnered some idea from books and movies, but had no real appreciation of the traumatic emigration of thousands of Russians, the poverty of their exile, and their heartbreaking longing for their lost homeland and life.

Helen Rappaport begins the story with the Russian obsession with all things French, dating to Peter the Great’s 1717 visit to Paris. She recreates Belle Époque Paris and describes the wealthy Russian nobility who enjoyed Parisian society, both high society and it’s darker underworld. By 1905, when Cossack troops slaughtered protesters calling for better wages and living conditions, it became obvious that, as Grand Duke Paul con Hohenfelsen expressed, “within and without, everything’s crumbling.”

Each chapter concentrates on a specific experience of Russians in Paris, following the lives of specific aristocrats and artists. There is Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes that propelled to fame previously unknown Russian composers like Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, and Mussorgsky, and dancers like Anna Pavlona and Nijinsky, a chapter I especially enjoyed.

We read about Lenin’s time in Paris, the writers and poets and painters. After the abdication of Nicholas II, the Russian aristocracy saw everything they had disappear, their rank and power, their land and possessions, their very lives at risk. For the first time in generations, they had to work, and at the lowest occupations possible. The alternative was to leave their homeland, making their way to the Crimea or Singapore, often with the clothes on their back and some jewelry they hoped would pay their keep for decades. Perhaps 146,000 left in 1920.

Rappaport paints a vivid picture of the gruesome journey on overcrowded ships, and the dire poverty that awaited them in exile.

Before us darkness and terror. Behind us–horror and hopelessness.Vera Bunin quoted in After the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport

At first, the French government accepted the emigres to replace the population lost during WWI, and perhaps 120,000 settled there. “Paris is full of Russians,” Ernest Hemingway wrote in 1922. The flood of jewelry on the market drove their value down, and the emigres had few skills to fall back on. The men aspired to become taxi drivers. The women took up needlework that was featured in Coco Chanel’s collections, capitalizing on the fad for Russian inspired fashion, working 12 hour days for a barely enough money to feed themselves.

The emigres longed for their homeland and old life, unable to accept their new reality as permanent. The ‘rightful tsar’ organized and plotted a comeback with expectation that Russians would rebel against the Soviet government. When a Russian emigrant assassinated the French president, there was a backlash against the Russians.

Most of the exiled poets, writers, and artists failed to thrive. Those who left for America faired better, and many Jews did leave with the rise of Hitler. It is heartbreaking to read of people’s lonely, cruel aging, the suicides, all hope gone. The poignant story of Mother Maria, who became a nun who organized soup kitchens and housing for the impoverished, ends with her death in Ravensbruck.

I don’t often feel compassion for the rich and powerful, and the White Russians were certainly isolated from the reality of ‘real life’. But what a marvelous study of a whole class and generation faced with the loss of everything they knew.

I received a free egalley from the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased.

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After the Romanovs is a look of all the Russian exiles that fled to Paris after the Russian Revolution. I knew that some Russians fled to Paris but not the extent that is covered in this beautifully researched non-fiction. From royalty to artists, Helen Rappaport gives a look into their new lives in Paris during the late 19010s and the 1920s.

Thank you to Netgalley for a chance to read this.

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I give this book a 5 star rating. It is well researched and very informative. It is a lot of information to get through. But it is worth it. I would recommend this book to people interested in reading books about this time period.

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I've always enjoyed both Russian and French history, so I was thrilled for the opportunity to check out Helen Rappaport's After the Romanov's, which takes a look at Russian exiles following the Russian Revolution.

This book was a treat. Highly informative with smooth writing. It's definitely a must-have for historians and students of the subject. It reads well and I'd say accessible, even for people not overly familiar with the period.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press for inviting me to read this title on NetGalley in exchange for a review.

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Wow, Helen Rappaport certainly did her due diligence on the historical aspects behind Paris and its history with Russian exiles from the Belle Epoque, Revolution, and War time era. I did not realize how much of Paris' history in that era was influenced by Russian people and their presence were spread throughout different arrondissements to affect goods, services, and food with respect to their culture.

Seeing how many aristocrats are described in the book, it was compelling information to read and then see the differences of those same people and how their experiences changed from the revolution into wartime. I truly enjoy the work that Helen Rappaport does and how well she executes her historical works. I look forward to her next book!

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This is a time period I've felt isn't as much explored in history, and I was excited for this book. It delivered, showing us a world of wealthy exiles and all their eccentricities.

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This is a well written non fiction account of life for the Russian aristocracy and others. There is lots of background and info spreading over many layers of the community in France and Russia. I’m not big on non fiction but I believe you could find this an interesting and informative book.

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After the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport


336 Pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: March 8, 2022

Nonfiction, Russian History

This is a very detailed book of Russian history including the execution of the Tsar’s family. After the revolution, the royals and extended family fled the county any way possible. Without money, they were at the mercy of others. The ones that remained in the country were put in prison or executed. I was unaware of the fate the families fell on after revolution. I also learned about the white and red armies.

The author did a remarkable job researching this book. The information is very detailed an covers many of the royal family members. If you have an interest in Russian history, you will enjoy reading this book.

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A rich, descriptive history of the lives of Russian nobility in France before, during and after the Russian Revolution. Rappaport delves deeply into the culture and backstories of the members of the royal family and their spouses, children, etc. It is a dense read, but very helpful to understanding the events and repercussions of the time.

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Rappaport always writes solid books. I enjoy her research. After the Romanovs depicts what happens to the ejected Russians after the Revolution. Paris became the bolt hole for so many exiled Russians. They created new enclaves for themselves and waited for life to be restored or to go on.
It's a fascinating look at the exiled Russians carving a new life for themselves.
I find anything about this time era fascinating as it pertains to the Russians.

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I received an advance reading copy (arc) of this book from in return for a fair review. Most of us know about the tragic fall of the Romanov family when Czar Nicholas and his wife, Alexandra, were murdered along with their children in 1918 as the Bolsheviks took over Russia. But what about the other family members, as well as titled aristocrats, artists, and other Russians who fled for their lives? It's something I had never thought about until I read this book. Author Helen Rappaport provides an eye-opening look at the many thousands of Russians who settled in Paris after the Revolution. For the most part, they were ill-equipped to live a middle to lower class existence after their lavish lifestyle in Russia. They had little to no training in the work force and found low-paying jobs in factories, while some drove taxi cabs, and many of the ladies took up needlecrafts as that was all they knew how to do. They established a Russian colony where they had their own newspaper, restaurants, churches, etc., but there was a sadness about all of them as they clung to the hope that one day they would return to Russia and the way they were. It was quite a come-uppance for the refugees who were used to extravagance. Part of me did not feel sorry for them as they suddenly faced living in the real world, but another part of me sympathized with them for losing their homeland. They never quite fit in anywhere else. It is a very depressing story with little triumph, but still quite interesting. My only complaint was the multitude of characters. It was very hard to keep them all straight--especially with their complex names--at least I thought they were complex. The author certainly knows her Russian history, which makes this book a worthwhile read.

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Expert Helen Rappaport transports readers to the Romanovs (and others) in exile in Paris as they navigate a new normal following the events of the Russian Revolution. Rappaport does cover relevant and connective backstory, but her richly detailed focus is on reinvention in ways the new emigres could not begin to imagine. And in doing so, she makes sure France is a chapter that cannot be overlooked. Well-known faces appear such as Chagall, Nabokov, Stravinsky, Nijinsky, as well as Mathilde Kschessinska. For anyone searching for comprehensive accounts of all things Romanov, Helen Rappaport delivers yet another outstanding entry

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Thank you to St Martins Press and NetGalley for the advance copy of this book!

This book was a wonderful, approachable telling of the role Paris played in the Russian diaspora story. Rappaport does an excellent job of laying out how Russians came to love Paris and hold it in esteem, only to flock there during and after the Bolshevik Revolution. Without getting too heavy-handed in her storytelling, Rappaport weaves a tale of richesse and power, only to see it all taken away as Russians flock to Paris without their wealth and power.

Rappaport does a great job of spreading her story to multiple industries and locations in and around Paris. I particularly appreciated her focus on the Ballets Russes and the musical and artistic contributions of the Russian emigres, without making it a full-on novel about them (though I would absolutely read that). She also did a great job of laying out who is who and how and where they came to settle in Paris, never forgetting their influence on Montparnasse and other neighborhoods.

I only wish Rappaport had spent a little more time going into Russia's obsession with France and how far back that dated, diving in more to the story of Catherine the Great. But a book can only hold so much and she really did a fantastic job of keeping the story moving while not feeling like the story was superficial.

A fantastic book on an interesting period of Paris's history, I really enjoyed it.

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I have been on a Romanov kick lately. I started with, "The Tsarina's Daughter", then finished "The Last Grand Duchess", a couple of days ago, and now I have completed "After the Romanovs", by Helen Rappaport. I have read a few of her other works and have enjoyed them all. This one also.
It was very interesting reading about the Russian aristocracy before and after the Russian revolution. I knew the history leading up to it, and of course of the deaths of Nicholas and his family, but I had not realized just how many of the aristocracy fled Russia to live in exile in France. How the mighty, who just a few short years before were visiting Paris and using it as their playground to flaunt their wealth, spending excessive amounts of money and partying throughout. To read about the money squandered before the revolution and then to read how some of the same had to get menial jobs just to survive after the revolution was a shocker. I am sure it was a shocker to those that lost all their wealth and power also. To read about this gave me a new outlook and understanding of events and circumstances that contributed to this turbulent and vital part of history.
This book is impeccably researched as are all of Miss Rappaport's writings and though being non-fiction was a very easy read for me. It is not dry or dull as some non-fiction books are. It is written in captivating, energetic writing that captures the reader. To me it read as easily as a fiction novel. It is filled with interesting stories and details of some of the most famous and fascination Russian aristocrats of the era. You won't be disappointed if you like reading about the history of fallen aristocracies.
I highly recommend this read. Thank you to the publishers at St. Martin's Press and to Net Galley for the free ARC, I am leaving my honest review in return.

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Good history lesson about the fall of the Romanovs and what happened to the surviving members of the ruling class of Russia.

A little dry - just the facts ma'am- I think I've read too many historical fiction lately and it's affected my ability to read straight history.

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After the Romanovs provides a wealth of information and anecdotes about the Russian aristocrats, artists, and intellectuals who escaped to Paris, fleeing persecution in their homeland before and after the Russian Revolution and the fall of the Romanov dynasty. These Russian aristocrats, artists, and intellectuals had long spent time in Paris, enjoying the culture, fine wine and food, and fashion. They spent lavishly and were popular members of society. But when the Russian Revolution started and these same “beautiful people” lost their titles, positions, homes and wealth, life in Paris became much different – and very difficult – for them. Probably the most interesting thing among all these facts and points of history is how totally unprepared these folks were for any life other than the rich, pampered, entitled one they had always known. While many found new careers and new ways to make money, as cabdrivers or seamstresses for example, to many more It was inconceivable that things wouldn’t return to normal sooner or later, so they went into kind of a holding pattern, waiting for the good old days to come back when their names, titles, and connections would once again get them the special treatment they felt entitled to. They had nothing in common with the thousands of others who were displaced but were not aristocrats, artists or intellectuals; they had nothing in common with each other except being members of the elite. They found it hard, nearly impossible, to unite against the new regime or to find a common road forward. All their rivalries and jealousies of the past continued.

After the Romanovs is a fascinating book to read, well researched and impeccably and thoroughly referenced and noted, which helps to keep track of the names and relationships and history. There are many, many quotes, revealing in their own, not always flattering words, how they felt and how they coped. Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for providing an advance copy of After the Romanovs via NetGalley for my honest review. I enjoyed it and recommend it without hesitation. All opinions are my own.

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Rappaport’s latest book on the Russian emigration after the Bolshevik overthrow is both timely and relevant. Rappaport weaves a seamless story of Russian Parisian life before the takeover and contrasts that with the horrifying aftermath. She describes the harsh realities faced by emigrants and refugees, which, unfortunately, rings true today with the refugee crises we see around the world.

Rappaport begins her book with a great glossary of historical figures she mentions throughout the book—there are a lot of them! It would have been interesting to have photographs throughout the book. Perhaps the final copy will have images. Rappaport proceeds to describe the atmosphere in Paris prior to the Bolshevik revolution, all the glamour and the glitz. She highlights the Romanovs, the intelligentsia, and the artists.

After the takeover, many of the remaining Romanov family members fled, along with White Army members, and the members of the artistic community. Paris offered sanctuary to many of the displaced Russians. Rappaport describes what the Russian people faced in Paris and how they coped with the loss of their home and their finances. Some caved to poverty and depression, and others rose up and created income from sewing or taxi driving.

Much of the book takes place during the 1920s, but it does continue through WWII. I found it noteworthy how the Russian émigrés faced more and more discrimination as WWII loomed. My favorite part of the book was the story of Mother Maria in Chapter 12 and how she met the needs of the impoverished Russian community. Her selflessness was truly inspiring.

Rappaport writes with a historian’s eye for details and a storyteller’s knack for captivating an audience.

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an ARC.

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If I had read this book for a Russian history course in college, I may have loved it. But leisurely reading -with the hope to “maybe learn a bit but mostly just be entertained” -this book was not. It felt cold and factual and I made no connections with any of the characters besides feeling perplexed by the exiles lavishness in the face of what their country/leaders had just endured. I didn’t feel like there was any flow to this book and I never knew who the narrator was… I had that constant niggling feeling that I’d missed something (though I don’t think I did, besides an already deep knowledge of Russian/Romanov/Belle Époque history, which I admit not to have.)
I received this ARC through the publisher and netgalley and I enjoyed trying to trudge through. I’m sure this book will resonate with super Russian history buffs and those with a paper to write, but if you’re looking for a fluffy book about Russian exiles in Paris, this isn’t it. I have The Romanov Sisters by this same author on my shelf, maybe I’ll try that and hope it’s less analytical.

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Helen Rappaport's latest book takes us to Paris. But not a Paris that most of us are familiar with. Starting in the early 1900s, the Paris of the Belle Époque was the Paris we may see in movies or books but can barely imagine- a Paris of limitless wealth, royalty, and endless parties. Russian Princes and Grand Dukes threw money around like it was water, bought homes and jewels for their mistresses, and catered to their highest tastes with no thought that the end could be in sight. When World War I arrived and they retreated to Russia, they had no idea of the changes that were to come. The Bolshevik Revolution that killed the tzar and his family, along with countless other hundreds of people, ended their Grand Russia. Hundreds of thousands of people fled for Europe, and tens of thousands ended up in Paris.

Rappaport does an excellent job of not getting sidetracked by all of the stories she could tell us. Instead, she stays focused on the few people or families she chose to follow to give the reader an overarching understanding of the conditions the Russian emigres faced. She doesn't fall into the possible trap of describing in detail the Revolution or the fighting- that isn't the point of this book and you can look to her bibliography for suggestions if you want to read more (or read one of her other books on the time period). She wants to follow the emigration, and does a brilliant job of immersing the reader in the hellish conditions suffered by everyone escaping Russia, be they peasant or prince. Once back in Paris it is a different world from the first few chapters and the reader can only marvel at the strength of the people who survived such incredible changes. From riches to rags, generals and princes to dishwashers and taxi drivers.

The focus isn't only on the (formerly) ultra rich. There are the writers, the artists, the brilliant circles that Paris was known for, only when they escaped the Bolsheviks so many writers and painters were faced with the shock of never seeing Russia again that they were disconnected from their true muse. Bunin, Chagall, and Stravinsky managed to succeed where so many failed and Rappaport tells the failures as well as the successes with compassion and courage.

After the Romanovs is in many ways a timely book, asking us to consider questions about success and failure, as well as having compassion for those displaced by political violence they had nothing to do with. It asks if it is possible to be a people, like Russians, if you are not living in Russia but exiled elsewhere- and if the Russia you and your generation remember disappears can you still be inspired by it? The generations of Russia's migration to Paris remained loyal to Russia to the end, a dream they held onto that kept them going, inspired their art and writing, their daily work, and their daily suffering.

Helen Rappaport's well researched After the Romanovs brings early 20th century Paris and the men and women living there to life in each page. Beautifully written, this is a book that is both inspiring and heart breaking. A must read for history lovers.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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Great read on a fascinating subject. Rappaport makes history come alive. I learned a great deal. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.

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I have read her three pervious books about the Romanovs and knew that I had to read this one, as well. I wasn't disappointed. To go from a gilded life to poverty overnight, escaping Russia with just the shirt on your back and to arrive in Paris which, in your past life, had been a favorite vacation spot, and to have to find work of any kind just to survive. Such culture shock for so many and it took a heavy toll on them. The contrast of Paris in the 1920's through the 1930's with the Belle Epoque and Jazz Age set against their sudden poverty is heartbreaking. Helen Rappaport brings this period alive in a very readable style and I can easily recommend it to anybody who enjoys reading history. It's a must read.
My thanks to the publisher, St. Martin's Press and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.

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After years of upheaval, with the Bolsheviks taking power, over a million people fled Russia. It was daunting and, for many, harrowing. Large numbers of these refugees ended up in Paris. Helen Rappaport examines how they dealt with life economically, politically, philosophically. The book mainly concerns aristocrats, artists and writers. More than once Rappaport points to a lack of sources for individual histories of the working class immigrants, but does not ignore them. The resulting account highlights how every large scale refugee event is both unique and universal. Immigrants cluster together. They find work in specific occupations. They work to both fit in and uphold their own traditions and culture. And they endure discrimination and hostility. This book is very well researched and well written. I found it fascinating.

One reason this book sparked my interest was my Russian history professor who, as a child, had left Russia through the Caucasus as one of the million. Awareness of the connection with the wider history of refugees was the memory of my parents sponsoring two of my grandmother's brothers as Displaced Persons from Lithuania after WWII.(No, I'm not young.) I finished reading the book about two days before Russia invaded Ukraine, sending another million to uneasy lives.

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Paris has been a place of great culture and wine for many centuries. Not as well known is that fact that many people have found refuge from their countries that have exiled them. or where they are in danger. Many Russian exiles spent time and LOTS of money there. They lived and worked there, some thrived, some did not. This is the story of those people and that time.

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After the Romanovs is a compelling and timely in-depth look at aristocrats and nobility before, during and after the Russian Revolution in 1917. Author Helen Rappaport explains the Russian fascination with France which started in 1717. In the late 19th century obscenely wealthy Russians flocked to Paris and were lauded by awed locals. Also described are those in the arts who became part of the inner circle such as Pablo Picasso and Marcel Proust. Russian concerts and opera as well as philosophy were de rigueur. But the Revolution changed everything...material things became worthless and nobility found themselves in exile. Tsar Nicholas II and his family were barbarically assassinated and others were imprisoned and reduced to extreme poverty. Bolshevik Lenin's goal was to liquidate the Romanovs and therefore in 1918 required all bourgeoise to work, mostly at menial jobs. A few became philanthropists such as Mother Maria Skobtsova who suffered horrors as well.

Travel back home to Russia became impossibly risky for many and the suicide rate in Paris skyrocketed due to desperate homesickness and extreme poverty. A few were welcomed back such as Leo Tolstoy. But others in desperation sold precious jewels and clothing for figs, fresh water or a loaf of bread. The book continues through WWII and after. So much sadness.

The list of characters at the front of the book is a very handy reference. Stories are harrowing and heartbreaking. I was able to connect many dots after reading this and had many aha moments. If you are at all intrigued by the Romanovs or life during that era, do pick this up.

My sincere thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the privilege of reading this gripping book.

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As I write this, the world is watching the human crisis in Ukraine and the millions of refugees pouring over the borders due to the invasion by Russia. Just over a hundred years ago, Russians fled their homeland due to the Revolution. How uncanny these two events take place on such a world stage and create such human upheaval and chaos among the Slavic population of Eastern Europe. That being said, the Revolution refugees from the Bolsheviks read like a who's who of the elite of Russian society, not the mass exodus of today of ordinary peoples. Being driven from your homeland and forced into exile creates a historical refugee drama of immense proportions. After the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport tries to capture the essence of forced relocation and settlement in Paris by Russia's monarchial oligarchy and its artistic community.

Rappaport's work begins with a detailed look of a world of glitz, glamour, obscene wealth, and indulgent lifestyles among Russia's elite in the early 20th century Paris. Their world before the revolution created a dream scape that allowed them to escape the dreariness of Russian winters and growing social discontent. Even Lenin found solace in the beauty of Paris prior to the outbreak of the Great War, one of the more fascinating chapters of the book. Once the war begins and the Bolsheviks topple the tsar and his family, Paris becomes the refuge of these homeless elites and the thousands of others escaping the cruelty and barbaric purges of Lenin and Trotsky's bloodletting of the bourgeoisie. Fleeing across the frozen tundra to the East or packed onto trains to the Crimea, the Russians are often caught in the struggle to stay one step in front of their persecutors. Once they find their way to safety and freedom, life in Paris offers them a home but it is one fraught with peril and often poverty. Their world of riches and privilege is left long behind.

Some of the more fascinating aspects of After the Romanovs are the later chapters in the book. The first few chapters almost bog down in the weight of the minutiae Rappaport includes about the artistic community that thrives in Paris. Honestly, I almost stopped reading the book at this point. But then the chapter on Lenin pops up which provided a really interesting insight into a short time in his life on the eve of the revolution. It also shifts the story from the privileged elite to the pogrom refugees who fled Russia years before. Suddenly Rappaport's narrative changed tone and made for much more interesting reading. No longer is the focus just on the Russian royals and artists indulging their pleasures in the City of Lights. It shifts gears to expose the danger and heartbreak of a war and revolution.

One of the most interesting tales revolves around the Bolsheviks attempts to lure the refugees home with the plan to execute them. Using the government in exile and the remnants of the White Army as their ruse, the Bolsheviks created a false organization to work in collusion with these runaway Russians. Kidnapping, subterfuge, and murder of the refugees by Lenin's agents offered an early look at the future of the NKVD and later the KGB as objects of fear and terror. Here Rappaport's attention to detail really pays off as she draws a withering portrait of the evil intent of the Bolsheviks' revolutionary zeal.

Meticulously researched and written, After the Romanovs provides an uneven but interesting view of a world long gone. By looking at the revolution from the lives of those who fled offers a different historical context often not found in the numerous works devoted to one of the most important events of the 20th century. Theirs is not the view of outsiders looking in at the "evils" of a Communist overthrow but one of those who lost everything to a revolution that stole their lives and homeland forever.

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This nonfiction book chronicles the lives of Russian émigrés in Paris, France. The author begins near the end of the Belle Époque when grand dukes and other upper-class Russians frequented the city, spending exorbitant amounts of money on Paris establishments like the Hôtel Ritz and Cartier. During the Russian Revolution, several members of the former ruling class fled to cities like Berlin and Paris. Forced to leave most of their wealth in their homeland, many Russian émigrés found themselves in need of paid employment for the first time in their lives. Although they originally believed this to be a temporary situation, the years stretched into decades and the Russian émigré communities remained.

Although I knew little of the Russian Revolution or the Russian émigré community in Paris, I found the book to be well-researched and interesting.

The timing for this book made a big difference for me. While reading it, I kept thinking of the current situation in Ukraine and all the people who have recently become refugees because of it. Due to this perspective, I found myself more interested in the parts about the general Russian community in France than the parts about specific famous Russian émigrés. If I had read this book several months ago, I may have felt the opposite.

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Very interesting book of the Russian influence in Paris in dance and fashion and the different people who were the influencers. Those seeking refuge in Paris after seeking asylum from the Revolution in Russia would take what jobs they could find but we’re still capable of influencing the Parisienne society. They still loved the ballet and fashion and the good food so would do what was necessary to continue these interests.
Thank you NetGalley and St. Martins Press for an ARC of this nonfiction book on the aussian immigrants to Paris.
#Netgalley #StMartinsPress

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The fall of Tsar Nicholas II and the murder of his family is a well known episode in history. Helen Rappaport’s After the Romanovs explores the lives of Russian royalty prior to the revolution, when Paris was a playground for the elite. Russian culture was brought to France by notables like Diaghilev and his creation of the Ballets Russes and the music of Stravinsky. The amount of money that was spent on jewels and entertainment prior to the Russian Revolution was obscene while the Russian people suffered. After the Revolution fortunes were lost and conditions worsened, forcing the elite to flee Russia. Many were evacuated to Constantinople, which became a major transit area but while allies debated their relocation they were often forced to remain for weeks, forcing them to sell their possessions to support themselves. While France welcomed a number of exiles to fill positions in factories and mines that were vacant after the losses in WWI, they often faced hunger and poverty as they struggled to survive.

There was an incredible number of people who fled Russia. By telling some of the individual stories Rappaport brings a human element to her non-fiction. Grand Duke Paul, the Tsar’s uncle, and his wife Olga had been banished by the Tsar after a scandal. After living in Paris for a number of years, they returned to Russia in 1913, where Paul was later executed along with three of his Romanov relatives. This is the story of Marc Chagall, Sandro, a Grand Duke who lived at the Ritz despite having no money until he was forced to move and the writer Gazdanov who became a taxi driver. It is a fascinating look at history and is highly recommended. I would like to thank NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing this book for my review.

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It's a bad time to be speaking about anything Russian at the moment but I sincerely hope that this book doesn't suffer from the timing of the release because it is excellent. Honestly, I had no clue there were so many Russians who were drawn to Paris but Ms. Rappaport shows that there is a rich history from the Belle Epoque to right around World War II of the Russian presence in France. There is a heavy emphasis on the Russian royalty which is understandable because they were the only people who could afford to travel to France, especially in the pre World War I days. The author's description of the extravagance of the royals kind of makes one understand why the Russian Revolution took place with all of that money wasted on things instead of helping their fellow countrymen. The author also gives an excellent description of the desperation of the people trying to leave Russia after the Revolution and the despair they felt trying to find their way in a new country that didn't always treat them well. I learned a lot from this book about an era I had no idea existed and I enjoyed the excellent writing.

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I don't often read actual history books, but when I do I always try to find a subject that really interests me.

After the Romanovs is a well done piece of Non-Fiction. You can really tell that the author has researched thoroughly the comings and goings of this time, and the people involved.

I think if you're interested in the Romanovs, Paris, and this time period in general, I would say grab this one and give it a read. It was very interesting to me, although I would say for people to be aware that this does read like a history textbook you would find in school.

Some readers can find that daunting and a little off-putting, but I actually found it really easy to read and it was interesting enough that it was hard to put this one down. I especially loved the very beginning, as the author lists the people involved and gives a short breakdown of who they are. That was extremely helpful.

I sincerely appreciate St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with a review copy. All opinions expressed herein are mine and mine alone.

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After the Romanovs: Russian Exiles in Paris from the Belle Époque Through Revolution and War by Helen Rappaport is the story of Russians in Paris. Paris has always been the city of culture, fine wine and food, and the latest fashions. It also has also been a refuge for those fleeing persecution. For years, Russian aristocrats had enjoyed all that the City of Lights had to offer. Living lavishly Paris was their home away from home. However, with the rise of the Bolshevik Revolution and the fall of the Romanov dynasty, many Russians came to Paris, some with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Suddenly former princes become taxi drivers, their wives sewing for the fashion houses. It is a story of menial jobs, political plots, espionage and assassination with few success stories while many lived in a cycle of poverty. The one thing that joined them all was love of the land that they were forced to leave behind.
After the Romanovs bring the human stories to the historical events. A very detailed account of those who left Russia, afraid for their lives, while hoping for the chance to bring Russia back to her glory. The interesting aspect of After the Romanovs is the cycle in which people can easily become “enemies.” Vladimir Lenin declared the bourgeois, enemies of the revolutions. But the bourgeois weren’t just the monarchy and the wealthy class but intellectuals, writers, and artists who influenced the country’s culture. Many of these individuals would have been considered “have-nots” but because of their professions, they were now enemies of the revolution. I enjoyed reading what happened to those who fled Russia after the revolution and how they fared. Ms. Rappaport does not shy away from the nit and gritty facts of these individuals’ stories, beliefs and attitudes that contributed to their downfall. If you are interested in this area of history, I highly recommend After the Romanovs.

After the Romanovs:
Russian Exiles in Paris from the Belle Époque Through Revolution and War
is available in hardcover, eBook, and audiobook

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This was exactly the right time to read this book. The first chapter was about Russians living the high-life in Paris right before the Russian Revolution and that was interesting but I wasn't especially hooked. BUT THEN - the book shifted into the story of the Russian refugees who settled in France due to the revolution and I was fascinated. I feel so much more of a connection to the Ukrainian refugees I see on the news today because I read this book.
Tens of thousands of Russians fled to France in the 1910s and they dealt with common immigrant issues - language, prejudice, building a new life. Some of these refugees, though, were Grand Dukes who survived by driving taxis and Princesses who survived by doing piece work for the Paris fashion houses. I had no idea of what they went through - this was all new to me. I enjoyed reading their stories very much and am so glad I read them right now.

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3.75 stars

A well-researched and anecdotal look at the White Russian emigres who fled before, during and after the Russian Revolution. This group included those in line for the throne after the Tsar's murder and a few details of some of the nearly-delusional efforts to reinstate the monarchy.

It's quite a mix, everything from the interesting tidbit of the high percentage of the male Russian aristocracy who ended up as Parisian taxi drivers, to the desirability of the countesses and princesses in the world of Parisian fashion. Some had escaped Russian with their jewels or other assets, but many were reduced to poverty. Great stories of the lucky people who built lavish homes and replicated their upper class lifestyle to those who worked in factories or as seamstresses.

Many artists and creative folk fled, including some very famous names of authors, dancers, painters, poets, composers, and opera singers. It all makes for a very interesting, if sad, read. Thanks to the publisher and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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This book was a bit more cerebral (lots of footnotes) than I expected. It was definitely well-researched based on the notes and such for the last 30%. I ended up like it and learning some though.
It begins before "after the Romanovs" least to my understanding of Russian history. In fact, about half the book is about before Tsar Nicholas II and his family were murdered. I truly had no idea about Paris being a second home to Russian emigres for decades upon decades. The book focuses on the royals, the wealthy, and the artists who fled Russia at various times in the early 19th century and made a new life (or not) in France.
I feel like it could have been better organized and still needed some editing, but I read an ARC. I imagine those things will be fixed by the time the book releases.
This book was definitely readable for a scholarly work, though; and I think would be of interest to many who want to learn more about Russian history...particulary of the exiles.

Thanks to NetGalley annd the publisher for my complimentary copy; all opinions are my own.

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Valuable resource for several areas of interest.
Once again, I found myself drawn into a book that would have made an excellent resource for any number of my college history papers. Nothing like a textbook, but filled with information and well-documented sources, this book will be a great addition to any library for those interested in French history, Russian history, WWI history, the rise of the Bolsheviks, the end of the tsars of Russia, the fall of the Romanovs, the history of migration and emigration across Europe, the history of refugees, and so much more.

Fascinating read of the culture and people in the years up to and after World War I.
The author does a wonderful job painting the picture and submerging the reader in the world of Paris, eastern Russia, and several places in between during the end of the 1800s and through the interwar period of the 1920s and 1930s. Without getting bogged down in details, the presentation is a great balance of providing as much information as possible while still being relevant and impactful.

I recommend this book for anyone interested in a variety of topics up to, during, and following World War I.
Stars 3.5
Would I Recommend? Yes

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If you are a fan of Russian history and anything to do with the Russian aristocracy after the fall of the Romanov dynasty then this is a must-read. Rappaport's writing is well researched, but entirely accessible. It was my first time reading her and I've already ordered her other books!

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After The Romanovs was a little dense and it is by no means a quick read. Also, with the climate in Russia today, it honestly was a little harder to read at this time, but also it provided a lot of insight to why Russia is the way it is to this day. I do appreciate how much research the author put into this book and I learned a lot of interesting things about Russian history that I was not previously aware.

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Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for my copy of After the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport in exchange for an honest review. It publishes today, March 8, 2022.
Once again, Rappaport brings history to life in another one of her fabulous works. She has a way of turning something that could be considered boring, and making it more than interesting.
I learned a lot about early 20th century European history, and plan to suggest this to others in my life with similar interests.

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This is a book that can be enjoyed no matter what your previous knowledge of royal Russians in exile is. Research is impeccable and the footnotes and further information was helpful and interesting. I particularly enjoyed the parts of the book about emigres influence on fashion, jewelry and culture. However, it did seem strange reading this while the present situation in Ukraine was happening.
My only complaint is the title was misleading and I would have preferred a more straightforward book name.
Thanks to #NetGalley and #AfterTheRomanovs for an advanced digital copy.

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After the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport

Russophiles rejoice! This is a data rich book about talented Russian émegrés and their undying love for the motherland. Many escaped to Paris where they reestablished careers they loved. While the regime back home changed often, the end results were the same: Clashes, coups, war and famine. Still, most artists were pining for a return.

While there was poverty and starvation in both Russia and Paris, at least no one abroad was out to kill them for their non-conformity. That was actually a plus in Parisian circles. Artists, writers, ballerinas and intellectuals alike worked to continue to hone their crafts. Some succeeded, while others flailed. Some returned, some stayed.

There are names you will recognize, Marc Chagall, for instance, and hundreds more you’ll be lucky to ever spell correctly. Endless footnotes will tell you the author did her homework, but if you’re looking for a storyline, this is not your book.

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When I opened my Kndle to read After the Romanovs, I was worried I would not stay interested after seeing the pages of the Russian Cast of Characters. How was one supposed to remember them? And, on a Kindle it is hard to go back and forth to check. I solved this problem by making screenshots of the pages. As I started reading, I felt I was at a gossip party. I had been worried that the book would be too deep for me. I loved Rappaport’s style of imparting knowledge about the Russian invasion in Paris life during “Belle Époque” era. I am watching The Guilded Age right now and this is a good companion piece to get the feel of this period. It also made me think of the Caroline Ferriday’s mom in LOST ROSES by Martha Hall Kelly . It is also extremely hard to read the footnotes on a Kindle as they are in the back. Resolution: I have ordered a hard copy of After the Romanovs so I can reread sections and access the characters and footnotes etc. I love this time period and I think this book will be an excellent resource to use when reading historical fiction of this time period. My thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for an ARC of this book.

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This was trademark Rappaport, very excellent and well researched. She clearly has a great command of her sources and the narrative was well and engaging. The glimpses of Russian society in Paris in the interwar period were fascinating. Rappaport also managed to take a well worn topic and look at it from a new angle which is always so great.

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An intriguing, well-documented history of the Russian aristocratic family. From the high life in Belle Epoque Paris through the Bolshevik Revolution, the reader is taken on a historic roller coaster as we witness the lavish Parisian lifestyle where money was no object to the whims and desires of the family. Then we turn to Lenin's rule of "appropriating" the assets of the rich and intellectuals forcing them into menial jobs as punishment for their prior existence. The assumptions of espionage divide and lead to arrests, imprisonment, and eventual execution of family members.

The book reads like a suspenseful novel but this is the Romanov's story. An eventful insight into their history and the history of Russian politics which is so relevant today.

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This book details the experiences of Russians who are living in Paris after the fall of the Romanovs. Interesting information is provided about the individuals and their lives in Paris. This nonfiction historical title will interest readers who want to learn more about Paris during the Belle Epoch.

I received this book from the publisher and from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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A fascinating, well-researched look at the lives of Russian refugees in Paris before and after the 1917 Revolution. Perfect for those who want to understand more of Russian history in light of today's events. Out now.

Thanks to the author, St. Martin's Press, and NetGalley for the ARC. Opinions are mine.

#aftertheromanovs #HelenRappaport #StMartinPress #NetGalley

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When the Bolsheviks took over Russia, the Romanovs, along with many other Russians, were forced out of their beloved homeland. Many resettled in Paris, where for the first time in their lives, they experienced poverty, hunger, and prejudice. Rappaport does an excellent job describing the hardships of the Russian diaspora in Paris, their first experiences with manual labor, their transition from royalty to peasantry.

The book is very well-written, thoroughly researched, and surprisingly readable for a work of academic non-fiction. If you are a history buff like me, I highly recommend picking up a copy. This one just came out Tuesday, March 8, 2022, so you should be able to find a copy at your local bookstore.

Thanks to Helen Rappaport, St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for this ARC in return for my honest review.

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A well researched and incredibly in-depth novel, After the Romanovs takes a comprehensive look at life for many refugees after the Romanov family was assassinated, and many defected to Paris. Helen Rappaport is a leading expert of the Romanovs and Russian history in general, and it is paramount in her writing.

Being a novice of Russian history myself I found myself lost more than one time, especially the moments when it read more like a textbook, and I found myself struggling to concentrate. I never really understood the reasons behind the revolution, but now I have more of an understanding as to why there was such an uprising. Reading the accounts of the Romanovs murders was gut wrenching and truly unfathomable. Though I now understand the motivations behind the extermination of the family, it doesn’t negate the fact that these were human beings, the loss of life is always sad.

Definitely doesn’t have the same flow as some of the other nonfictions that I’ve read recently, but the information it does contain is eye-opening. I loved the fluid segues between different persons of interest and periods of time, and must give credit to all of those that fled from Russia and had a true fall from grace. To go from such incredible wealth to working as a taxi driver in a foreign land had to be earth-shattering.

I left this book feeling depressed, especially with the current events going on with Russia and Ukraine. There has always been such turmoil in that region and it just breaks my heart. My prayers go out to all that are affected by this current conflict, and hope that it will have a peaceful ending soon.

Watching what is currently happening, as well as reading After the Romanovs, I am now curious to learn more about this turbulent country and stormy past. It is truly a fascinating topic and I thank Ms. Rappaport for her comprehensive work.

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a wonderful informative historical story filled with interesting complex characters. The tragic events and unpredictable occurances make this a page turner and a must read.!

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Really well researched and accessibly written while still leaving space for inquire elsewhere by staying on topic. However, do not go in looking for Romanovs go in looking for more Paris based in the storytelling.

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