On this day in 1993 (July 9th) the remains of 5 Romanov family members were identified. Next year, on July 17, 2018, it will be the centennial of their deaths. I find the day that their identities were restored to be a fitting and haunting day to finish such a poignant history.
The fate of the Romanov family is well known. It was popularized with my generation through the cartoon feature film Anastasia -- holding out the hope that one of the ill-fated Romanov daughters survived. While this has sadly proven to be a false hope, the remaining mystery of what happened to the Romanovs during their horrifying final minutes is an engrossing one.
That said (and maybe this is a bit of a spoiler so proceed accordingly), Helen Rappaport does not focus on how the Romanov daughters died. In fact, there is no detail pertaining to their deaths at all. Rappaport focuses on how they lived. It was wonderful to see how the Romanov girls interacted with their siblings and their parents as they functioned within what seemed to be a very healthy family life. It was sobering to realize that these were girls who had hopes and dreams and envisioned a future for themselves. And it was bittersweet to read about their joys, sorrows, and plans...all the while knowing what was in store for them.
On a technical aside, I "read" the audiobook narrated by Xe Sands -- she was fabulous.