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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Sat October 11th, 2008, 9:49 pm

"Divia" wrote:I'm about 60 pages into it and so far I like it. I mean you have to just go with the flow on this one since the DNA tests n all.

I didnt know that the Tsarina had a hard time with her mother in law. Is that true? :confused:


Hope someone else can answer that question. I haven't read much of anything set in Russia :o

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SonjaMarie
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Location: Vashon, WA
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Postby SonjaMarie » Sun October 12th, 2008, 1:26 am

"Misfit" wrote:Hope someone else can answer that question. I haven't read much of anything set in Russia :o


Yes, Alexandra and Maria Fedorovna her mother-in-law didn't get a long, Maria wasn't willing to give up her role as Tsarina after all the years she was one to her daughter-in-law. Alexandra didn't have the sparkle and vivaciousness of Maria or knew how to handle the courtiers.

SM
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Susan
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Location: New Jersey, USA

Postby Susan » Sun October 12th, 2008, 1:46 am

"Divia" wrote:I didnt know that the Tsarina had a hard time with her mother in law. Is that true? :confused:


Yes, Alexandra had quite a difficult time with her mother-in-law Marie Feodorovna (born Princess Dagmar of Denmark...she was the sister of Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII of the UK; the sister of King George I of Greece; and the sister of King Frederik VII of Denmark). Neither of Nicholas' parents initially approved of the marriage. Both of them had strong anti-German feelings and although she was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, Alexandra had been born Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine. It was not until Tsar Alexander III's health worsened that he relented and approved the marriage. He died shortly afterward of nephritis at the age of 49.

Some of Alexandra's personality quirks may be able to be attributed to the fact that her mother (Alice, a daughter of Queen Victoria) died of diphtheria when she was six years old along with her younger sister. A brother had previously died of hemophilia complications when he fell out a window. She was always a morose and sullen child. Alexandra was unpopular both at court and with the Russian people. Her mother-in-law was extremely popular and personable. Alexandra was seen as aloof and haughty. She resented that in the Russian court Dowager Empresses outranked Empress Consorts (unlike other courts) and never formed a close bond with her mother-in-law. Alexandra firmly supported the Russian autocracy and believed in divine rule. Although I am sympathetic toward her final fate, after reading a lot about her I don't find much to admire in her except for her devotion to her family. Her own aunt (Empress Frederick of Germany, born Victoria, Princess Royal) said of her, "Alix is very imperious and will always insist on having her own way; she will never yield one iota of power she will imagine she wields."
Last edited by Susan on Sun October 12th, 2008, 1:56 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Divia
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Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

Postby Divia » Sun October 12th, 2008, 3:23 am

ah, interesting. Thanks :)

I knew the Russian people didnt like her but I was unsure about her mother in law.
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SonjaMarie
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Postby SonjaMarie » Sun October 12th, 2008, 5:06 am

I finished "Artifacts" by Mary Anna Evans. A very interesting and good murder mystery with a archaeological slant. It's also the first book I've read where the lead character was biracial. I look forward to reading the second book.

Sonja Marie
Last edited by SonjaMarie on Sun October 12th, 2008, 5:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Alaric
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Postby Alaric » Sun October 12th, 2008, 5:31 am

"Divia" wrote:I was unsure about her mother in law.


Maria Feodorovna was incredibly popular with the Russian people though. Where Alexandra was quiet, uninteresting and stereotypically German Maria was the opposite, being a lively personality who went out of her way to become apart of Russian life (much as did Catherine the Great). They didn't get along at all. Maria was immensely popular and remained so right through the revolution, she didn't even leave until 1919, and when she left she went unharmed. It's why her remains were moved from Copenhagen to the Peter and Paul Cathedral a couple of years ago.

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Maggie
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Location: London, UK

Postby Maggie » Sun October 12th, 2008, 6:05 pm

Moondance of Stonewylde by Kit Berry.

annis
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Postby annis » Sun October 12th, 2008, 7:29 pm

"Last Argument of Kings", by Joe Abercrombie, the final in his "First Law" trilogy. If you enjoy your fantasy dark, violent, unpredictable and laced liberally with black humour, Joe is the author for you. Absolutely love his writing, and how cool, I see that he has a new book due out next year :)

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Telynor
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Location: On the Banks of the Hudson

Postby Telynor » Sun October 12th, 2008, 9:50 pm

"Alaric" wrote:Maria Feodorovna was incredibly popular with the Russian people though. Where Alexandra was quiet, uninteresting and stereotypically German Maria was the opposite, being a lively personality who went out of her way to become apart of Russian life (much as did Catherine the Great). They didn't get along at all. Maria was immensely popular and remained so right through the revolution, she didn't even leave until 1919, and when she left she went unharmed. It's why her remains were moved from Copenhagen to the Peter and Paul Cathedral a couple of years ago.


But then, Maria had the time to settle into her role first as the wife of the Tsarevich, and then as Empress -- and yes, while she was much more outgoing than Alexandra was, Alexandra wasn't quite so awful as most historians portray her. Maria regarded Nicholas as -hers- and after her son was married, they were living with her for six months before their own palaces were refurbished. It must have been awful for Alexandra to be spending her early marriage under the same roof as her mother-in-law. Too, Maria had excellent health, and Alexandra didn't -- knowing what havoc sciatica can raise, I can speak of what that must have been like, not to mention that she may have had variegate porphyria, and possibly heart problems, not to mention being pregnant nearly constantly during the first ten years of her marriage. Finally, I don't think Alix regarded herself as German, but rather English in her outlook. Not that she was a saint, far from it, but once someone had her friendship and devotion, it stuck.

There's a recent and very good biography about Marie Feodorovna called "Little Mother of Russia" by Coryne Hall.

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Susan
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Location: New Jersey, USA

Postby Susan » Sun October 12th, 2008, 10:24 pm

"Telynor" wrote:But then, Maria had the time to settle into her role first as the wife of the Tsarevich, and then as Empress -- and yes, while she was much more outgoing than Alexandra was, Alexandra wasn't quite so awful as most historians portray her. Maria regarded Nicholas as -hers- and after her son was married, they were living with her for six months before their own palaces were refurbished. It must have been awful for Alexandra to be spending her early marriage under the same roof as her mother-in-law. Too, Maria had excellent health, and Alexandra didn't -- knowing what havoc sciatica can raise, I can speak of what that must have been like, not to mention that she may have had variegate porphyria, and possibly heart problems, not to mention being pregnant nearly constantly during the first ten years of her marriage. Finally, I don't think Alix regarded herself as German, but rather English in her outlook. Not that she was a saint, far from it, but once someone had her friendship and devotion, it stuck.

There's a recent and very good biography about Marie Feodorovna called "Little Mother of Russia" by Coryne Hall.


All of what you say is certainly true. Alix did not have what we would call a bubbly personality at all. Her reticence was viewed as aloofness. Alix did spend a lot of time with her grandmother in England and although she may have considered herself English, she was viewed as German. Her grandmother Queen Victoria was against Alix and her sister Ella marrying into the Romanov family. Apparently Victoria was right as both Alix and Ella were killed by the Bolsheviks. Any royal bride coming into Russia had a very difficult adjustment, The culture, the court, the country, the religion were so different. Even Catherine the Great had the same adjustments coming to marriage as Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst which was in Germany.

Nicholas also did not help Alix's situation. He was not cut out to be tsar, nor was his preparation what it should have been. His father was expected to reign for a much longer time as he died at age 49. When his father died, Nicholas asked a cousin what would turn out to be a rather prophetic question, "What will happen to me and all of Russia?" His marriage, which was supposed to take place six months later, instead took place only a few weeks after Alexander III's death. Presumably, Alix would have had some preparations and orientations during that six month period and perhaps would have been better prepared and viewed differently.

I do think Alix made some very bad errors and gave Nicholas some awful advice during World War I, especially when Nicholas was away at army headquarters. She was making decisions and giving advice that she simply was not qualified to give and Nicholas was weak enough to take her advice. I admire her devotion to her husband and children and wish that she and her family could have lived a quieter life, out of the limelight.

And I wholeheartedly agree that "Little Mother of Russia" by Coryne Hall is an excellent biography of Maria Feodorovna.
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