Romanov by Nadine Brandes // A book that breaks your heart as well as heals it

The history books say I died.

They don’t know the half of it.

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them, and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of saving herself and her family are to either release the spell and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya has only dabbled in magic, but it doesn’t frighten her half as much as her growing attraction to Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her.

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.

     Also btw, I hosted a readalong of the book for BooksNBeyond so if you've read the book and want to see all my spoilery thoughts about the book, you should totally head here. If you haven't read the book yet though, stay right here and I have non-spoilery lists for you!


     1) ALEXEI. I straight up loved this precious bean so much. Kind heart, sass, humorous, clever and also strong and badass in his own way! Alexei is unforgettable and a character to reckoned with! BIG HUG FOR THE TSAREVICH

     2) NASTYA - Our main character with her heart of gold and all the tricks up her sleeves. Nastya is such a wonderful protagonist and I loved all parts of her. She, like her brother is kind and nice but also so badass and powerful in a way that filled my heart.

"Because I have a story I was meant to live. And not even you can unwrite it.”

     3) THE FAMILY DYNAMICS - Aw the first half of the book had my heart aching for the Romanov family. Even in the hardships, they found solace in each other and really I loved all of them. I wish we'd seen more of the other sisters too - Olga and Tatiana. I also wish we'd seen more of the children's interactions with their mother too. But I LOVED the relationships Nastya had with her father, her brother and her sister maria. The family was portrayed in an achingly beautiful manner.

“No amount of age, pride, or maturity could stop me from loving my papa with the heart of a little girl.”

     4) TSAR NIKOLAI - I don't know how the real historical figure was but the character the author has created is just too wonderful for words and I absolutely loved him.

     5)THE MAGIC SYSTEM. I think the magic system was brilliant. But I also liked how the magic wasn't all-powerful. Really loved how Brandes brought magic into history in an ingenious manner.

     6) THE WRITING. I love Nadine Brandes' simple but elegant writing. The words just flowed so well and I pretty much read the book in one sitting.

"I’d not mourn the lost good memories— I would apply them to my heart as a poultice every time it ached. That was what positive moments were for— to help heal the wounds of the future. As long as we chose to remember them."


     1) NASTYA AND ZASH - Okay so I had mixed thoughts about the ship throughout but at the end of the day I think I like it? I liked that the romance wasn't a major part and neither Nastya nor Zash were falling head over heels in love at first sight. I liked how despite her feelings for Zash growing, Nastya maintained a family first and kept at it strongly.


     1) I felt the second half of the book was a bit rushed? A lot of things were happening and it honestly felt a bit choppy to me. The first half was my absolute fave and I wish the second half had been more longer and clearer

     3) A CERTAIN CHARACTER'S ARC- Just nope. Deserved worse is all I'm gonna say.

Have you read this book? Any historical events you want to see retellings for? Tell me in the comments below!