Published by Headline Review
Available in ebook and paperback (18 October 2018)
Source: Review copy from publisher
Gill Paul’s books are a regular feature on my blog and I was thrilled to receive an invite from Anne Cater and Headline to take part in the blog tour to celebrate the paperback release of The Lost Daughter. My thoughts are below, but first here’s description of the book.
| About the Book |
A Russian princess. An extraordinary sacrifice. A captivating secret…
From the author of The Secret Wife, a gripping journey through decades and across continents, of love, devastating loss and courage against all odds.
With the country they once ruled turned against them, the future of Russia’s imperial family hangs in the balance. When middle daughter Maria Romanova captivates two of the guards, it will lead to a fateful choice between right and wrong.
Fifty-five years later . . .
Val rushes to her father’s side when she hears of his troubling end-of-life confession: ‘I didn’t want to kill her.’ As she unravels the secrets behind her mother’s disappearance when she was twelve years old, she finds herself caught up in one of the world’s greatest mysteries.
| My Thoughts |
It’s no secret to anyone who reads my blog that Gill Paul is a much favourite author. I’ve read all her most recent books and reviewed them here.
In a previous book, ‘The Secret Wife‘, we were told the ‘what if’ story of Tatiana, one of the Romanov daughters. This time, its the turn of middle daughter, 19 year old Maria. The story begins in Ekaterinburg in 1918, just at the time the Romanov family are imprisoned at what was to be their final destination, in the Impatiev House. The fate of the Romanovs is recorded in history however Gill Paul presents an alternative version.
In the 1970’s, Val is living in Australia. She is called to her father’s nursing home after the staff report that in his state of dementia he keeps repeating a phrase ..” I didn’t want to kill her” Val has no idea what he means ..her mother disappeared suddenly when she was young – is he talking about her? Unfortunately he is unable to tell her. Married to a brute of a man, she does not have a good relationship with her father but when circumstances give her the opportunity to investigate further into his background, she is amazed at what she finds. Sometimes with dual time stories, one timeline engages me more than the other – not so here. The Russian element was always going to be the main hook for me but I was also fascinated to see how Val’s story would be told and I enjoyed her part in the story too.
The link between Val and events of the past are slowly revealed but not at all in the way that I expected. The story encompasses events in Russian history from 1918, right through to the Seige of Leningrad in the 1940’s where so many thousands of Russians died from starvation and to the end of Stalin’s rule.
I don’t want to give away any more of the story. You need to read this for yourself. The Lost Daughter is a beautifully written and moving tale of love and betrayal, heartbreak and resilience. I absolutely adored it.
Gill Paul could publish a shopping list and I would read it. Her stories are captivating, with wonderfully drawn characters and situations. There were many times that I felt quite emotional, so engrossed was I in the story. The level of research into historical events and locations must be immense and this depth to the story comes across clearly.
I can’t recommend The Lost Daughter enough. If my review has tempted you at all, it can currently be downloaded from Amazon UK for just 99p. A bargain for such a fabulous book.
| About the Author |
Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in relatively recent history. Her new novel, Another Woman’s Husband, is about links you might not have been aware of between Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, and Diana, Princess of Wales.
Gill’s other novels include The Secret Wife, published in 2016, about the romance between cavalry officer Dmitri Malama and Grand Duchess Tatiana, the second daughter of Russia’s last tsar, who first met in 1914. Women and Children First is about a young steward who works on the Titanic. The Affair was set in Rome in 1961–62 as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton fell in love while making Cleopatra. And No Place for a Lady is about two Victorian sisters who travel out to the Crimean War of 1854–56 and face challenges beyond anything they could have imagined.
Gill also writes historical non-fiction, including A History of Medicine in 50 Objects, and a series of Love Stories, each containing fourteen tales of real-life couples: how they met, why they fell for each other, and what happened in the end. Published around the world, this series includes Royal Love Stories, World War I Love Stories and Titanic Love Stories.
Gill was born in Glasgow and grew up there, apart from an eventful year at school in the US when she was ten. She studied Medicine at Glasgow University, then English Literature and History (she was a student for a long time), before moving to London to work in publishing. She started her own company producing books for publishers, along the way editing such luminaries as Griff Rhys Jones, John Suchet, John Julius Norwich, Ray Mears and Eartha Kitt. She also writes on health, nutrition and relationships.
Gill swims year-round in an open-air pond – “It’s good for you so long as it doesn’t kill you”– and is a devotee of Pilates. She also particularly enjoys travelling on what she calls “research trips” and attempting to match-make for friends.