I want to talk to your group about The Secret Daughter of the Tsar! I’m happy to join Twitter chats or Facebook groups. If you’re located in Northern California, I would love to visit and discuss the novel, writing, the publication process, Russian history, and the Romanovs.
The questions below are also located at the back of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar. I’ve omitted a few questions which contain *spoilers.*
So enjoy a White Russian cocktail, play a little Tchaikovsky (Piano Concerto #1 perhaps?), and happy reading!
BOOK GROUP QUESTIONS:
1. At several points in the story, Veronica feels drawn to Alexandra Romanov in an almost supernatural sense. Have you ever experienced a similar connection with a historical figure? A distant relative? What connects us to someone in the past?
2. After her failed engagement, Veronica erects self-protective emotional walls. What qualities does Michael possess that break down these walls? What is his main appeal? To what extent is Veronica attracted to the world Michael represents?
3. Veronica’s grandmother encourages her to prioritize professional success over romance. Why? Is Abuela’s opinion shaped more by Veronica’s intellectual talents or her own experiences?
1. Lena’s loyalty to Alexandra implicitly defies the political views of her brother. What did the Romanovs and monarchy in general represent to someone in Lena’s position–security or tyranny? Both?
2. Lena and Alexandra develop a bond that transcends class. Lena and Pavel’s attraction transcends the racial order of the time. Are the personal and the political intertwined? Do these relationships suggest Lena has a rebellious side?
1. Charlotte endures the Nazi occupation of Paris seemingly without protest, until there is a clear and present threat to her son. Is it natural for most people to keep a low profile during military occupation? Without the threat to Laurent, do you think Charlotte would have found ways to rebel against the occupation?
2. Despite their estrangement, Charlotte remains attracted to her husband, Luc. Would she have felt the same way about Luc if they didn’t share a common interest in Laurent?
1. The narrative hinges on an alternate historical timeline. Outside of fiction, is there any reason to consider “what might have happened” historical questions?
2. The last Romanovs remain a popular subject of fiction. Why do you think this is? Are we more attracted to their lives or the sordid way they died? Is there beauty in tragedy?
3. To some extent, Veronica, Lena, and Charlotte all feel awkward and like outsiders in their respective worlds. In what ways? How do they deal with these feelings? Do their feelings about their relative places in the world evolve over time?