REVIEW: Fascinating! The Last Tiara by M.J. Rose had it all. There was mystery, intrigue, war, jewels, friendship, a love story and a woman in a male dominated field of work during the post World War II era. What more could you want? This book grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let me go. It was so interesting.
The story takes place during two times periods and told by two different women. The mother during the fall of the Romanovs in Russia and the daughter in post World War II in New York City. I especially loved the setting in Russia, learning about their arts and life. I also enjoyed New York City in the post war time period when things were returning to normal. The author did a great job of weaving the two stories together.
This was such a rich story of relationships. She made the past come alive and I felt like I was a bystander watching it all unfold. The cover of the book is beautiful and of course the synopsis only tells you so much but, I was pleasantly surprised that this book was so much deeper and richer than I imagined.
If you love Historical Fiction, I know this book is one you will want to add to your library. It is as multifaceted as the diamonds and jewels that are a part of The Last Tiara!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley for a fair and honest review. Thank you!
SYNOPSIS: From New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller M.J. Rose comes a provocative and moving story of a young female architect in post-World War II Manhattan, who stumbles upon a hidden treasure and begins a journey to discovering her mother’s life during the fall of the Romanovs.
Sophia Moon had always been reticent about her life in Russia and when she dies, suspiciously, on a wintry New York evening, Isobelle despairs that her mother’s secrets have died with her. But while renovating the apartment they shared, Isobelle discovers something among her mother’s effects—a stunning silver tiara, stripped of its jewels.
Isobelle’s research into the tiara’s provenance draws her closer to her mother’s past—including the story of what became of her father back in Russia, a man she has never known. The facts elude her until she meets a young jeweler, who wants to help her but is conflicted by his loyalty to the Midas Society, a covert international organization whose mission is to return lost and stolen antiques, jewels, and artwork to their original owners.
Told in alternating points of view, the stories of the two young women unfurl as each struggles to find their way during two separate wars. In 1915, young Sofiya Petrovitch, favorite of the royal household and best friend of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna, tends to wounded soldiers in a makeshift hospital within the grounds of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg and finds the love of her life. In 1948 New York, Isobelle Moon works to break through the rampant sexism of the age as one of very few women working in a male-dominated profession and discovers far more about love and family than she ever hoped for.
In M.J. Rose’s deftly constructed narrative, the secrets of Sofiya’s early life are revealed incrementally, even as Isobelle herself works to solve the mystery of the historic Romanov tiara (which is based on an actual Romanov artifact that is, to this day, still missing)—and how it is that her mother came to possess it. The two strands play off each other in finely-tuned counterpoint, building to a series of surprising and deeply satisfying revelations.