Another historical fiction to the list!
Thanks to GetRed PR and Blue Box Press for the free ebook copy in exchange for my honest review
THE LAST TIARA – M.J. Rose (Released February 2nd, 2021)
From New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller M.J. Rose comes a provocative and moving story of a young female architect in post-World War II Manhattan, who stumbles upon a hidden treasure and begins a journey to discovering her mother’s life during the fall of the Romanovs.
Sophia Moon had always been reticent about her life in Russia and when she dies, suspiciously, on a wintry New York evening, Isobelle despairs that her mother’s secrets have died with her. But while renovating the apartment they shared, Isobelle discovers something among her mother’s effects—a stunning silver tiara, stripped of its jewels.
Isobelle’s research into the tiara’s provenance draws her closer to her mother’s past—including the story of what became of her father back in Russia, a man she has never known. The facts elude her until she meets a young jeweler, who wants to help her but is conflicted by his loyalty to the Midas Society, a covert international organization whose mission is to return lost and stolen antiques, jewels, and artwork to their original owners.
Told in alternating points of view, the stories of the two young women unfurl as each struggles to find their way during two separate wars. In 1915, young Sofiya Petrovitch, favorite of the royal household and best friend of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna, tends to wounded soldiers in a makeshift hospital within the grounds of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg and finds the love of her life. In 1948 New York, Isobelle Moon works to break through the rampant sexism of the age as one of very few women working in a male-dominated profession and discovers far more about love and family than she ever hoped for.
In M.J. Rose’s deftly constructed narrative, the secrets of Sofiya’s early life are revealed incrementally, even as Isobelle herself works to solve the mystery of the historic Romanov tiara (which is based on an actual Romanov artifact that is, to this day, still missing)—and how it is that her mother came to possess it. The two strands play off each other in finely-tuned counterpoint, building to a series of surprising and deeply satisfying revelations.
My Thoughts: 3/5 stars
Historical fiction has and always will be one of my favorite genres. I’ve read a couple books by M.J. Rose in the past, so I was excited to start THE LAST TIARA as I’ve come to enjoy her writing! She does an incredible job setting the scene and transporting us to that point in time. Something I will always appreciate because it helps you get into the mindset with the characters – when you can feel their surroundings it adds another layer of authenticity (in my opinion).
While this was a very engrossing read, I found it hard to connect to the characters this time. This story I found myself being almost overwhelmed with all of the information being thrown at us. Things that never really came into play later in the story, so I feel like this could have been a little shorter and still have the same overall effect. Don’t get me wrong, I love details and intricately set up stories, but when they end up leading nowhere or have no real tie in to the overall plot, then it loses me.
Despite that, I still would highly recommend picking up Rose’s work! I’m definitely in the minority on this one, so I think it’s more of a me thing rather than the book. If you want a solid historical fiction/romance read, then make sure to check out THE LAST TIARA, or any of M.J. Rose’s other books.