- Virginia Johnson
“…I know what happened that horrible night the Romanovs were murdered.”
Robert Alexander’s The Kitchen Boy begins in sorrowful searching as young Kate tries to unravel the mysteries lying in her grandparents’ past. Before taking his own life, wealthy Grandfather Misha made a tape recording revealing some of what happened during the Tsar’s last days at The House of Special Purpose. Misha explains that he was the kitchen boy--a lowly yet trusted servant--who experienced the royal family’s many kindnesses during their final time of terror and imprisonment. And, he confesses, he had a part in their downfall.
As Kate listens to the tape, she as well as we readers are drawn back decades to the last days of Russian royalty. Misha’s revealed past holds the key to Kate’s future. The difficulty lies in, well, Grandfather Misha’s lies. Even as he confesses his part in the destruction of the Romanovs, Kate senses that the whole story is not there. For very personal reasons she must find the last witness, even if it means journeying to Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Grandfather Misha’s carefully-spun tale of half-truths unravels at the very end in a way that is not affected but affecting as it lays out a scenario in which love must overcome evil.
This is a relatively short book, a page-turner to enjoy for a long weekend. If you enjoy The Kitchen Boy, by all means try Alexander’s other tales set in Russia on the eve of the Revolution—Rasputin’s Daughter and The Romanov Bride.
The author's Web site has a book trailer, scrapbook, and reading group guide.