One Hundred Years of Exile: A Romanov’s Search for Her Father’s Russia by Tania Romanov

A Hundred Years of Exile by Tania Romanov Book Cover, Memoir and history book cover with quilt background for book recommendation

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If the first chapter or two doesn’t draw you in, be patient.  The stage is being set!  This book is a fascinating family history, personal narrative, and a glimpse into the dark worlds of genocide and misuse of political power.  It is absolutely heart rending, and powerfully heartwarming.  It’s also a view into the impact of a time in history that many of us are ill-informed of or not informed of at all.  The perspective is at once sweeping and very, very personal.  The events on the personal level are exceedingly pertinent to today. The events on the political level are equally pertinent. Right Now.

On a lighter note, it’s also a fun and adventurous read.  The characters are colorful.  I wonder things, like why would someone like to eat fish eyes?  What would I have done if I was faced with an arranged marriage I didn’t want?    I really enjoyed the various viewpoints on the family house, what it meant to each person, including the perceptions of the writer who saw it so many years later.  I noticed that on the journey out of Russia, the author’s grandfather realized that they needed to take time to rest, even under difficult and dangerous circumstances.  It seems to have continued that way for them, a respite and then upheaval.

 I’m amazed by the resilience shown on a long and hard journey, and rejoice when these amazing people find something to take joy in along the way.   I also wonder– how disoriented would I have become, if I had to leave everything I knew? Leave behind family, home, culture, my concept of what the future might hold?  What about having to do it twice, or three times?  How much fear can a person go through instead of going down? The challenges of living in immigrant camps are huge. It’s hard to take in.  No one should have to.

There’s also an intriguing mention of some family silver…I’d like to say more because honestly…well, I’d like to say more.   I will grit my teeth and refrain from spoilers.   All I can say is this book is its own treasure, and I hope you enjoy it.


This Abibliophobe