BOOK BLITZ - EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY - The Romanov Heiress by Jennifer Laam

The Romanov Heiress
Jennifer Laam
Publication date: March 20th 2023
Genres: Adult, Historical

Four sisters in hiding. A grand duchess in disguise. Dark family secrets revealed…an alternate future for the Romanov sisters from Jennifer Laam, author of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar and The Lost Season of Love and Snow.

With her parents and brother missing and presumed dead, Grand Duchess Olga Romanova must keep her younger sisters safe. The Bolsheviks are determined to eliminate any remaining holdovers from the tsarist regime, hunting down the last Romanovs and putting them to death. Now living in England, the Romanov sisters remain hidden to protect their identities, even as isolation strains their relationships.

But they can’t distance themselves from the world forever.

Olga learns that a peer of the realm has accused the late Empress Alexandra of betraying Russia and her allies during the Great War. Under the spell of the scheming Grigori Rasputin, Alexandra disclosed military secrets to the enemy and pursued a separate peace with Germany. If this rumor becomes history, it will destroy her mother’s legacy and her sisters’ futures.

Disguised as “Olivia,” a wartime nurse turned maid, Olga accepts a position in Lord Hammond’s household. There, she works to discover the truth about her mother. When Olga meets his lordship’s heir—an alluring, enigmatic war veteran—her situation grows even more precarious. Could she fall for the son of her new enemy? As she learns more about the tragedies of his past, Olga realizes the connection between their families is more complicated than it appears.

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Almost to the end, Mama and Papa refused to believe our lives were in jeopardy. Distressing messages arrived while we were under house arrest. Friends of our family buried notes under linens covering loaves of bread and fresh butter from a local convent. The same plea over and over. We might escape, but Papa needed to act quickly. 

Papa was a kind man and a good father, but never decisive. First, our enemies moved us from Petrograd to Siberia. Missives continued to arrive in secret, and Papa still did nothing, even after the Bolsheviks seized power. 

When they brought us to our ultimate destination, Ekaterinburg, the guards said we were now in a “House of Special Purpose.” Our charmed lives had vanished. We might vanish as well, seven more victims of the Revolution. 

During our last summer in Russia, a miracle occurred. We could no longer attend church, but were granted an evening service inside the house. Mama prepared a modest altar using her fanciest lace handkerchief and two of our precious candles. 

When a young priest in black vestments arrived to lead the prayers, he handed me a cloth-bound prayer book, his thin brows pinched. 

Inside, I found a fragment of paper tucked between the last pages: a note dashed off in English. Though banned from speaking the language in that terrible place, we were all fluent. My heart thundered. Had the King of England finally come to our rescue? I waited until Tatiana and Maria were chanting a canticle—and the guards distracted, leering at my pretty sisters—to slide the note under my sleeve. We’d all sewn special pouches inside our cuffs for just this purpose. 

After the service, the priest collected the prayer books once more. I excused myself to use the communal lavatory, the one room in the house where we had some measure of privacy. 

The guards had defiled the walls with vulgar drawings and lewd jokes. Sadly, I’d grown accustomed to such filth. When I entered the latrine that night, I saw fresh graffiti. A woman meant to be our mother lolled naked in bed. A German Black Iron Cross, the hated symbol of our country’s wartime enemy, hung from a chain around her throat. The man depicted next to her had a black beard and grubby hands. Our family’s so-called friend. Rasputin. Father Grigori, as we knew him. 

Bitter tears stung my eyes. My mother may have been born a German princess, but she was no traitor. Hand trembling, I slipped the note from my cuff and read: 

We come at midnight. But only for the girls.

Author Bio:

An avid history nerd, Jennifer currently lives in California with a spoiled tabby cat named Jonesy. When not reading or writing, she enjoys planning cosplay for the next San Diego Comic-Con, experimenting with vegetarian recipes (to mixed results), and obsessing over House Targaryen or Baby Yoda.

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