Tsarina Alexandra-hauntingly beautiful, melancholy, obsessed with the occult-was blamed by her contemporaries for the downfall of the Romanovs. But her true nature has eluded previous biographers. Using archival material unavailable before the fall of the Soviet Union, acclaimed historian Carolly Erickson's masterful study brings to life the full dimensions of the Empress's singular psychology: her childhood bereavement, her long struggle to marry Nicholas, the anguish of her pathological shyness, and her increasing dependence on a series of occult mentors, the most notorious of whom was Rasputin. With meticulous care, Erickson has crafted an intimate and richly detailed portrait of an enigmatic historical figure. Unfolding against the turbulent backdrop of Russian history in the last decades before the Revolution of 1917, this engrossing biography draws the reader in to Alexandra's isolated, increasingly troubled interior world. In these pages, the tsarina ceases to be a remote historical figure and becomes a character who lives and breathes.
Intimate, rich in detail, carefully researched and informed by a generous imagination, Erickson's page-turning account of Alexandra and her times is a gem of biographical storytelling, as vivid and hard to put down as an enthralling novel.