The days of the last Tsar are laced with uncertainty and supposition and this is apparent from this novel told by Leonka the kitchen boy at Ekaterinburg the execution site of the imperial Romanov family. This event had a pivotal influence on ensuing history. It took place in Siberia and the Romanovs never lost hope of their liberation . It is thought or supposed that one or two survivors made it. The lips of the Imperials were indeed stiff as they were shut off even from sunlight in their imprisonment. The 4 daughters and mother spent hours sewing and encasing diamonds into their corsets to help them when they reached another country.They were taken to the cellar and even then were assured of their liberation.The jewels deflected the bullets and they were finally gunned down by the Bolsheviks.Leonka tapes his eyewitness record to leave for his granddaughter.He tells of the following:
- The foolishness of the Tsar
- His great regard for the Tsarina
- The hemophilia of the Tsarevich Alexei (Alexis) Romanov
- It is a well told account based on records on display in museums and also documented letters and then the author wove a tale around these.
- It is viewed as one of the world's great tragedies even now.
- The surprise ending of the novel weaves together the novel's disparate strands.
The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar
by Robert Alexander
Order: USA Can
Penguin, 2004 (2003)Hardcover, Paperback
Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth
story of the final days of the last Tsar and Tsarina of Russia is told by
Leonka, a kitchen boy who worked for the Romanovs at their place of
imprisonment. The assassination of the whole family, along with five of their
retainers, took place in Siberia during the early days of the Russian
Revolution.What actually happened has been speculated about since that day.
Tales of one or two of the royal family surviving have circulated but never been
proven. Leonka tells of the stiff upper lips of the imperials who endured not
even being able to see daylight, their windows being covered over. The four
daughters and their mother spent many hours at their sewing – encasing diamonds
and other valuable loose jewels in their corsets to help them if they managed to
reach another country.The Romanovs never gave up hope of an escape and even when
they were taken to the cellar of what was to be the spot of their executions,
they were sure they were to be liberated. Those jewels deflected bullets when
they were finally gunned down and the actual killing took longer because of
that.Leonka tapes the record of the deaths to leave for his granddaughter when
he dies. He tells of the young Alexander's suffering with hemophilia; of the
sweetness of the girls; of the foolishness of the Tsar in his dealings with his
people; and of his great regard for the Tsarina.The Kitchen Boy is a slim novel
that packs a great deal of speculation. It's a well-told account based on many
copies of communications that are held in display at various museums. Robert
Alexander has taken these documented letters and woven a tale around what is
still viewed as one of the world's great tragedies. The surprise ending - which
will shock and surprise you - answers many questions that the novel raises.