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Extended Audio Sample Enchantments: A Novel, by Kathryn Harrison Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (981 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kathryn Harrison Narrator: Julia Emelin, Rustam Kasymov Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • One of the 2012 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Angela | 2/14/2014

    " I really had difficulty getting into this one. I think it may have been all the stories within the story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Rachael Mcdonnell | 1/29/2014

    " Did pick this up three times but finally finished to the end. I got lost a few times with the story. There are stories in the stories so it gets hard to follow - to me. But I always pick up stories on the Romanovs. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by JodiP | 1/21/2014

    " I think if I were remotely itnerested in Russian history, I would love this book. It concerns Rasputin's daughters and their connection to the royal family in the waning days of their reign. The writing style could get a bit tweely poetic for my tastes, but if it were about a time period I was interested in, I'd forgive these minor flights. As it is, I don't know why I thought I'd like this, as I am irrationally put off by nearly all things Russian. I forced myself through the Furst books featuring Russian spies only because I love the writing and to complete the picture of esionage during WWII. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Ann | 1/18/2014

    " I won this book through First Reads and absolutely loved it. There is something incredibly real and moving about the narrative voice--Masha, Rasputin's daughter. Her attempts to reduce the strain of captivity for herself and Alyosha, known to history as Alexei Nikolaevich Romanov, through storytelling were delightfully imaginative and written using beautiful language that transported the reader as easily as it would have an ailing tsarevich. (view spoiler)[The fictional doomed romance between Masha and Alyosha was portrayed with a touching even-handedness, beginning subtly and innocently as teenage and forbidden romances often do and left unresolved at their parting, adding layers of poignancy to their separation and the Romanovs' subsequent deaths. (hide spoiler)] All in all, this book lent a refreshingly novel perspective, as well as educated and drew in its readers, to this period of history, meeting the ideal of historical fiction. "

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