Blog Tour & Paperback Giveaway: Enchantments by Kathryn Harrison

 One of The New York Times 100 Most Notable Books of 2012

” From Kathryn Harrison, one of America’s most admired literary voices, comes a gorgeously written, enthralling novel set in the final days of Russia’s Romanov Empire.

St. Petersburg, 1917. After Rasputin’s body is pulled from the icy waters of the Neva River, his eighteen-year-old daughter, Masha, is sent to live at the imperial palace with Tsar Nikolay and his family—including the headstrong Prince Alyosha. Desperately hoping that Masha has inherited Rasputin’s miraculous healing powers, Tsarina Alexandra asks her to tend to Aloysha, who suffers from hemophilia, a blood disease that keeps the boy confined to his sickbed, lest a simple scrape or bump prove fatal.

Two months after Masha arrives at the palace, the tsar is forced to abdicate, and Bolsheviks place the royal family under house arrest. As Russia descends into civil war, Masha and Alyosha grieve the loss of their former lives, finding solace in each other’s company. To escape the confinement of the palace, they tell stories—some embellished and some entirely imagined—about Nikolay and Alexandra’s courtship, Rasputin’s many exploits, and the wild and wonderful country on the brink of an irrevocable transformation. In the worlds of their imagination, the weak become strong, legend becomes fact, and a future that will never come to pass feels close at hand.

Mesmerizing, haunting, and told in Kathryn Harrison’s signature crystalline prose, Enchantments is a love story about two people who come together as everything around them is falling apart.”


In some cases the story really begins at the end. Spanning the time immediately after Rasputin’s brutal murder and beyond the last days of the Romanov family, Enchantments gives a unique look into a time period of Russian history very well documented and yet still coveted in the fictional world of literature. This novel however is unlike the others I have read in that it gives a fresh look as it delves into Rasputin’s life as a family man, very rarely do you ever see it even mentioned that he had a wife and children much less see his offspring as the narrator of such a monumental time in history.

Masha as she was called was the oldest of Rasputin’s daughters and very much the favorite daughter who both respected and cherished her father. The Tsarina of Russia even felt that the young girl had inherited her father’s healing gifts although Masha never felt so herself and never pursued any of Rasputin’s practices. Nevertheless this belief allowed Masha and her sister access to the Romanovs that very few ever held.  Within her stories Masha gives a insider’s account of both Rasptuin the Monk’s life and that of the last royal family of Russia. She is truly a gifted storyteller and the accounts she gives create characters out of historical figures we have all read about.

While much of the novel is very well imagined and given in a abundance of fictional stories within it still lies the tragedy of the last Tsar of Russia and his family. Many of the stories told by Masha are clearly of a fantastical nature but they provide not only a enjoyable reading experience but also a deeper insight into a family lost. A relationship between Masha and Alyosha, gives  the son of Nicholay and Alexandra a life and history beyond his disease and death. Alexei truly becomes a person within this novel and that is something I have rarely seen in accounts of the Romanovs.

In the end while most of the the stories are purely fiction behind them lie real people whose story may never be able to be factually told. This novel at least gives them a past and life of some type in which to be real people and not simply notes in a history book. I thoroughly enjoyed the book from both a fictional and historical stand point. It truly flies by once you become entranced by Harrison’s unique storytelling style. I would recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction and those interested in the Romanovs specifically. I adored this novel when I first read it in 2012 and am so excited to be able to share it again with my readers in it’s new paperback release.

 Book Giveaway

Stiletto Storytime is excited to be able to offer a giveaway as part of this TLC Book Blog Tour Stop for Enchantments and a paperback copy of the book will soon belong to one very lucky reader. Giveaway ends midnight EST March 25, 2013. US/Canada addresses only please for this giveaway.

To enter: Simply share one of your favorite historical fiction authors and the time period that most appeals to you as a reader below in the comment section. I love getting new suggestions for my future reading and it seems there is always a work that I have passed by or not heard of . So share one…or share a few while entering to win a great addition to your own library.

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26 Comments

Filed under Adult Books, Blog Tour, Contests, historical fiction

26 responses to “Blog Tour & Paperback Giveaway: Enchantments by Kathryn Harrison

  1. Any period of British, French or Russian history is great. But my all time favorite is the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy by Sigrid Undset which is set in Norway. Fabulous book, and well deserved Nobel prize winner.

  2. I used to be fascinated with Rasputin and never realized he had a family of his own.

    I don’t read a lot of historical fiction so don’t have a favorite author but I do like to read about stories set during the Depression and World War II.

    • stilettostorytime

      If you were fascinated about Rasputin…this book offers a completely different look at an infamous man. I have read a lot about the Romanov’s but this is undeniably the most comprehensive and intensive look into Rasputin and his family I have seen in a fictional setting!

  3. Jen

    I also love books set in Russia. I have always wanted to visit St. Petersburg so any book set there is good with me!

  4. Kate F.

    One of my favorite historical fiction authors is Kate Morton and I love to read about the Victorian Era.

  5. I love historical fiction, but my favorite eras switch quite frequently. Right now, I’m loving the settling of the west/homestead act period. A series I quite like is the Red River of the North series by Lauraine Snelling

    • stilettostorytime

      I know I don’t read a lot of American based historical fiction…I think my only favorite in that era and place is an older books called “House Divided” which is a civil war novel from the confederate point of view…based on the experiences of one family. It’s an older antique book I received from my Grandmother….”Gone with the Wind” is also a favorite. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I am following you on twitter! @westmetromommy

  7. I am following TLC book tours on twitter! @westmetromommy

  8. I would LOVE to win this book. I am fascinated with everything Russia. I am very eclectic in the historical fiction I read and the time periods, I skip all over the place. I love history and find myself looking into the real history after reading historical fiction. C.W. Gortner is one of my favorite authors. I especially loved ‘A Queen’s Vow’ set in mid 15th century Spain

    • stilettostorytime

      I am a historical fiction junkie too…although I stay mostly in Britain and France sometimes in Russia….often in the periods of Georgian and Regency as my favorites. I love British and French history based on monarchy….love the history in it.

  9. Sorry I forgot to leave my email teddyr66 at yahoo.com

  10. I follow you on Twitter as @Teddyrose1

  11. I follow TLC tours on Twitter as @Teddyrose1

  12. I’m a huge fan of this period of history and it has been too long since I’ve read anything set then. I’m looking forward to making time to read this one!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  13. A newer favorite for me in the past few years is C.W. Gortner. The two I’ve read by him, The Last Queen and The Queen’s Vow, were both set in the 15th century. I do also enjoy books set in the Middle Ages.

    truebookaddictATgmailDOTcom

  14. Twitter follower: @truebookaddict

  15. TLC book tours follower on Twitter: @truebookaddict

  16. stilettostorytime

    Thanks to everyone who entered to win a copy of “Enchantments”. It’s been a crazy week is our household so I am a bit late in choosing the lucky winner but it’s gonna be….(drum roll)…Teddy is our winner! Congrats Teddy and look out for some more great giveaways in the coming weeks!

  17. Pingback: Kathryn Harrison, author of Enchantments, on tour February/March 2013 | TLC Book Tours

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