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Extended Audio Sample Enchantments: A novel of Rasputins daughter and the Romanovs Audiobook, 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: March 2012 ISBN: 9780307969699
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A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK

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

  • [A] splendid and surprising book....Kathryn Harrison has given us something enduring – the last romantic figure of the [Romanov] era, a whip-cracking circus girl who was once an intimate part of a dying empire. New York Times Book Review
  • Part love story, part history, this novel is a tour de force....[told] in language that soars and sears. More
  • A mesmerizing novel. O, The Oprah Magazine
  • Kathryn Harrison triumphantly returns to her historical fiction roots with Enchantments, the sweeping (and wholly imagined) story of love between two unlikely allies....Harrison takes a particular moment in time and brings it to stunning life....re-imagining history—and a love story—in a completely new way. Bookpage
  • A surreal tale fueled by a legendarily randy real-life healer and his lion-taming daughter....A scrupulously researched retelling of the fiery end of Russia….Most of all, Enchantments is about the irreducible mysteries of human motivation. Elle
  • A sumptuous, atmospheric account of the last days of the Romanovs from the perspective of Rasputin’s daughter, Enchantments animates a kaleidoscopic breadth of historical detail with the sensuous, transporting prose that is Kathryn Harrison’s trademark. JENNIFER EGAN, author of A Visit From the Goon Squad
  • Ask yourself who, in all the world, would be the best novelist to imagine being Rasputin’s daughter. Kathryn Harrison makes the answer obvious. Her Enchantments is a stupendous work of historical imagination. PETER CAREY, author of Parrot and Olivier in America
  • Kathryn Harrison locates within the crevices of history moments of poetry and passion that electrify the reader. In Enchantments, Ms. Harrison takes us on a magic carpet ride to Russia one hundred years ago, and with perfect grace, impeccable style, and great narrative flair, she gives us a whole wounded world that is for the course of this utterly compelling novel as real as our own lives. Actually: more. SCOTT SPENCER, author of Man in the Woods and Endless Love
  • Enchantments is wonderful: fascinating, informative, historically persuasive, and full of sympathy and tenderness for its endearing characters. This is Kathryn Harrison at her lyrical best. RON HANSEN, author of A Wild Surge of Guilty Passion 
  • [A] bewitching historical novel about the infamous demise of a legendary dynasty....Harrison sets historic facts like jewels in this intricately fashioned work of exalted empathy and imagination, a literary Fabergé egg....[A] dazzling return to historical fiction Booklist (starred review)

  • 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 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 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 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 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. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rosemary | 1/12/2014

    " I liked it. Must like Russian history "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathleen | 1/9/2014

    " A story about Rasputin's daughter who lived with the Romanov's and then became a circus performer in the U.S. should have been thrilling. Instead, the appealing characters and plot were bogged down by hundreds of pages of stories that Masha tells to entertain Alexei. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karin Maier krider | 12/12/2013

    " I really enjoyed this book. It kept me intrigued from start to finish. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sharon | 12/8/2013

    " This book could not hold my attention long enough to finish. I love historical fiction set in Russia, but this one was not good "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mom | 12/4/2013

    " oddly fascinating - nice look at period history from another P.O.V. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andi | 8/23/2013

    " I liked it, the writing was good and it was a nice spin on the final days of the Romanovs. A little disheartening when you know how many of the characters will die, but overall worth reading. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Rie Crosson | 8/19/2013

    " I am not in the habit of giving up on books but this one I gave up reading 40% through it is inconsistent and confusing "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth La Lettrice | 5/11/2013

    " I don't even want to talk about the fact that I just spent way longer than necessary writing a review for this book only for it not to load.................... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Cait | 4/24/2013

    " I wish I had liked this book, but it was just so dull. Also, the author has a love for using completely inappropriate words. Ugh. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ayelet Waldman | 3/10/2013

    " This is a competent, interesting book. I'm not very into the Russian royal family, though. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Gail | 12/10/2012

    " I made it 160 pages before giving up. I didn't get this book at all. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 {eri} | 9/25/2012

    " Liked parts of it. I think the writing was too bombastic and the story while a good idea flighty, didn't make me want to follow even though I WANTED to want to follow. Really emphasized my desire to read Nicholas and Alexandra as this was the book that inspired the author when read at age 11. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kikireads | 7/26/2012

    " I listened to this. Not the author reading but an actress, Russian accent which for the most part was consistent throughout the book. Kathryn Harrison's work (Poison/The Binding Chair) and now this) is very poetic. you can get lost in her sentences. I loved it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Holyn | 6/22/2012

    " I wanted to enjoy this novel, but just could not. It felt disorganized, disjointed, and never captivated my attention. "

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About the Author
Author Kathryn Harrison

Kathryn Harrison is the author of the novels EnvyThe Seal Wife, The Binding Chair, Poison, Exposure, and Thicker Than Water. She has also written memoirs, The Kiss and The Mother Knot, a travel memoir, The Road to Santiago, a biography, Saint Therese of Lisieux, and a collection of personal essays, Seeking Rapture. Ms. Harrison is a frequent reviewer for the New York Times Book Review; her essays, which have been included in many anthologies, have appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’sVogue, Salon, and other publications. She lives in New York with her husband, the novelist Colin Harrison, and their children.

About the Narrator

Julia Emelin is a voice talent and audiobook narrator. She is the winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award.