I haven’t read Harrison in years though I enjoyed her earlier works. Reading “Enchantments” felt like a homecoming. I’m shocked to see other Amazon reviewers didn’t like it as much as I did. Harrison’s writing is top notch. There were two or three chapters I marked to go back and read again because her prose is so beautiful. As usual Harrison’s prose is highly sensual and often lush. In this book Harrison uses some well known historic facts surrounding the killing of the Romanovs as a stepping off point. Her imaginations of the interior life of the Romanovs and Father Grigory’s (Rasputin) families are mostly pure fiction. The emotions and interactions seem real though.
The story is told from Grigory’s oldest daughter Masha’s view point. She and the Tsarevich Aloysha spend lots of time together when Masha and her sister and Aloysha’s family are held hostage in the Romanov’s palace. To entertain the ailing prince she spins tale after tale mostly with Aloysha or her father as the main characters. The loveliest stories are the ones about Grigory’s encounters with divine beings and the messages they give him. The entire book is a fanciful concoction but the emotions seem down to earth. Reading “Enchantments” makes me realize how much I’ve missed Harrison and that I need to go read the books I’ve missed.