The murder of the Romanov family is one of the most shocking events in Russian; and world, history. Gill returns for the second time to explore the family and this time focuses on Maria. Maria had been documented as being friendly and having spent time talking to the guards, so Gill focuses on this and asks the question – what if the guards begin to have feelings for her, what if their conscience takes over and they aren’t able to kill her? And so, in this incredible fictional world – Maria survives the execution.
This is a dual timeline story and in the more present timeline we are introduced to Val. Val is a victim of domestic violence, but it’s not until her father passes and her passion to find out about the past ignites, that she finally discovers the strength to leave her husband and protect her daughter from a future of abuse.
Both Maria and Val, at the start of the book, are vulnerable and scared. By the end of the book we’re saying goodbye to two strong and courageous women. This engaging and highly absorbing book tracks their self discovery and what a rewarding read it is.
Maria’s story was beautifully told and takes you on an insightful trip through Russia’s history, I particularly found the siege of Leningrad heartbreaking to read but also deeply moving – throughout this book, Gill’s words delicately handle and provide sensitivity towards times of hardship and pain.
Meanwhile as Val begins to unravel her father’s past, she’s able to rekindle a relationship with her mother which brings her so much happiness. Watching Val come out of her shell was wonderful to read and brought so much joy to my heart.
In both timelines, Gill’s research shines through creating a story that feels real and believable. Whilst you fall in love with Maria and feel her pain from the death of her family, you also see the perspective from the other side, which is an eye opener for both Maria and the reader.
This would be such an excellent novel for a book club discussion, as the book encompasses such a range of topics: history, family dynamics, friendship, death, love, abuse and continuous change.
With Gill creating an alternative version to that terrible night, she has skilfully achieved a plausible and truly remarkable story. I am in awe of this book and hope this review does it justice.
The Lost Daughter is out now in paperback and eBook versions by Headline.
Have you read this beauty of a book? Let me know in the comments or over on twitter @reviewsbychloe !
*Thank you very much to Becky over at Headline for sending me this wonderful book, I chose to review it here on my blog*
Until next time, Chloé x