Guest Post by Dora Levy Mossanen + Giveaway of The Last Romanov

Passages to the Past is pleased to be hosting a guest post by author Dora Levy Mossanen and giveaway of her novel, THE LAST ROMANOV, which is being released today!  Happy Release Day, Dora!

And now, please help me welcome Dora Levy Mossanen...

The Hazards of Falling in Love with your Characters

I started the lengthy and always fascinating process of research for The Last Romanov a few months before I put pen to paper, or fingertips to keyboard. And for the next three years, while working to complete the novel, I continued to gather a treasure trove of information. I learned about a tumultuous era in Russian history, a series of revolutions that gathered force and gave rise to Communism, transforming the political landscape of the world. I became intimately familiar with the looks, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses of Tsarina Alexandra, Tsar Nicholas II, and their five children. I studied the depth of Alexandra’s guilt at having transferred the hemophilia gene to her only son, the heir to the throne, who was born after four girls. The extent of the couple’s insulation from their disgruntled people, the thick cocoon of denial surrounding them, surprised me. And I learned about Nicholas and Alexandra’s great love for each other that might have caused the downfall of the 300 year-old Romanov Dynasty. I couldn’t stop collecting information, not even after the last period was tapped on my keyboard, my laptop was shut, and I went out to celebrate with a glass of wine. I was an obsessed woman. A voyeur! Unable to say goodbye to my charges, stop prying into their lives, unable to keep myself from digging into the mystery of the mad monk, Grigori Rasputin. I sifted through fact and fiction. Was it true that this vile womanizer was the Tsarina’s lover? Did he really cure Alexei Nikolaevich, the hemophilic heir, when the most competent doctors had failed? How did Rasputin’s penis end up in a jar of alcohol in a museum in St. Petersburg? I’m not kidding! I saw the photograph with my own eyes—a curious woman peering behind a glass jar in which an enormous penis was displayed. Well! Whose member could it be but Rasputin’s, who was alleged to have been well-endowed and to have been “dismembered” by his murderers? Further investigation revealed that this precious relic might be nothing but a strangely shaped sea-cucumber.

But I digress! The discussion is about the hazards of falling in love with your protagonists, in this case the Romanovs. The problem arose when I became more familiar with the Imperial family and, consequently, with the extent of their anti-Semitism. I faced a dilemma. Here was I, a Jewish writer, who had developed deep compassion and even love for my charges. I did what I always do when faced with a problem. I took a few days off to distance myself from my story. When I returned to the Romanovs with a fresh eye, I realized that I had already planted my own emissaries in the Imperial Court. One of them is Avram Bensheimer, a Jewish artist, whose paintings the Empress admires. Darya, the opal-eyed Toyota Dasha of the Tsarevich, falls in love with Avram. He becomes a spokesman for the Jews. He voices what is taking place beyond the walls of the palace—the discrimination, the pogroms, the devastation of entire Jewish communities.

About The Last Romanov

 Publication Date:  April 3, 2012 | Sourcebooks | 368p


For almost a century, Imperial Russia has captivated the imagination- the ruthless execution of the royal family, the disputed survival of the heir: it's a cinematic chaos that the masterful Dora Levy Mossanen unravels for her readers. Taking readers deep into tarnished grandeur, The Last Romanov follows Darya, a wise old beauty whose time spent with the Imperial family has haunted her entire life. When the murderous events unfold, Darya is plagued by the prophecy made by the Empress's advisor, Rasputin. She must find the missing Tsarevich Alexis Romanov and restore the monarchy or risk losing her own life.

Giveaway Information

- To enter, please leave a comment below and include your email address (only comments with email addresses will be entered in the giveaway).
- Giveaway is open to US and Canada ONLY.
- +5 additional entries become a follower of Passages to the Past. If you are already a follower you will automatically receive the bonus entries. 
- +3 additional entries join the Passages to the Past FB Page.
- +3 additional entries follow me on Twitter.
- +1 additional entry each, please help spread the word by blogging, posting on sidebar, tweeting or posting this giveaway on Facebook or Google+.  You can use the SHARE buttons below.
- Giveaway ends on April 12th.


  1. I would love to read this book.
    Thank you.
    I am a follower of your blog on Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, and added your blog logo to my sidebar on my blog @ Impressions In Ink.

  2. This sounds like a great read! I am a follower and really enjoy your blog. Thanks for a chance to win a copy of the Last Romanov!
    rexmoy at gmail dot com

  3. I've read other HF novels about the Romanovs. Such a fascinating era, and tragic family. Would love to read this novel. Thanks for the giveaway.

    +5 Google follower

  4. Interesting insight into the emotional attachment of an author to her characters. Similar to a reader's response, I'd imagine, if the writer is successful.

    I'm a follower. Thanks for the chance to win.

    nanze55 at hotmail dot com

  5. This book sounds fascinating and would love to read it!

    wol_f21 at hotmail dot com


  6. Good Morninng from lovely California, my dear readers! Thank you for welcoming me so warmly. It's a clear, beautifully crisp day here. The elements have come together to honor the launch of THE LAST ROMANOV! I am overwhelmed by your heart-warming responses and can't wait to share notes about the book when you've had a chance to read it. I have all the intentions of keeping in touch with you throughout the day, even though tonight is the big event I've been looking forward to for some years. I'll be talking and signing books at the Barnes and Noble at the Grove in LA. So, if you're around please come and say hello, enjoy some light fare, take a photograph, chat.
    Now, I better get my act together and go shape my brows, have a manicure, visit the hair salon. Perhaps even go for a short hike befor that! So, take care of yourselves and we'll chat again in a couple of hours. Let me know if you have any questions and I'll answer them when I return.
    Be well!
    Dora Levy Mossanen

  7. This sounds wonderful! I've always been fascinated by the Romanovs, and Rasputin.
    I'm a follower, member, etc.....
    Thank you!

    teabird17 at yahoodotcom

  8. Sounds like a very interesting book. I'd love to win.

  9. I LOVE stories about the Romanov's!! Thanks so much for the chance to win a copy of this one:)

    +5 blog follower
    +3 FB fan: Julie Witt for both
    +3 Twitter: @jwitt33
    +1 tweeted:!/jwitt33/status/187247322160316419

    jwitt33 at live dot com

  10. I loved her "Courtesan," can't wait to read Last Romanov, sounds wonderful.

  11. I have been fascinated by this family ever since the huge issue on them of Look magazine so long ago. This is will be so fascinating to read.
    +5 Blog Follower
    +3 Facebook fan for your blog.
    +3 Twitter Follower under the name of Carolee888
    +1 Posted this giveaway on FB

    +1 Iweeted:

  12. Part Two!

    I couldn't the FB address to paste so trying again:

    Here is the tweet:


  13. Good Afternoon, my friends! As promised, I'm back after being plucked and brushed and painted to no end. I feel like royalty now, ready for one of those extravant balls that took place in the magnificent Alexander Palace. Well, not quite! Still, I'm looking forward to signing many books tonight and to stirring interest and curiosity when I speak about THE LAST ROMANOV and what inspired me to write it. Do you know that the seed of this novel was planted in my head in 1991? It was a time of political change. Gorbachev's perestroika was relatively new. And the policy of openness allowed the Russian government to announce to the world that the remains of the last Romanovs were discovered after 73 years. It was a major discovery! I was fascinated. What a decadent imperial court! Unbelievable pomp and paegentry.
    Hope you enjoy THE LAST ROMANOV and keep in touch with me

  14. This sounds like a great read!

    I am a GFC Follower

  15. It was interesting to read about the emotional attachment of this author to her characters. I look forward to reading this book.
    I follow on email, facebook, twitter. I shared on facebook and tweeted

  16. Wow, what a story! I would love to read this book!
    Good luck on your release, Ms. Mossanen!

  17. Thank you for the chance to win.
    +5 - follower (griperang)
    +3 - FB follower (Angela (Angela Newcomb Holland)
    +3 - twitter follower (@griperang)
    +4 - shared on twitter, facebook, google + and my blog -

    Thank you for the chance to win.

    griperang at embarqmail dot com

  18. i've always been fascinated by TheRomanovs & can't wait to read TheLastRomanov

    +5 i'm a follower of Passages to the Past
    +3 'liked' the Passages to the Past FB Page
    +1 shared on FB:

    cyn209 at juno dot com

  19. Another wonderful book to read. I am a follower and email subscriber. Please enter me in contest.

  20. This sounds so interesting!

    I follow on Google Reader.

  21. I've been wanting to read this one and I'd love to win a copy. And I'm a follower


  22. Another one I want to read.

    I follow on

    I shared on

    Thank you
    kaiminani at

  23. The Romanov family and that particular period in Russian history has always held a fascination for many people. I'm looking forward to this new perspective.
    For +5 additional entries I am a follower of Passages to the Past through GFC and by email: carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx
    For +3 additional entries I am a member of the Passages to the Past FB Page: Carl Scott
    For +3 additional entries I do follow on Twitter: @carlrscott
    and for +1 additional entry I composed a nice tweet for the giveaway:!/carlrscott/status/187394856207912960
    That's all my allowable entries. Thanks!

  24. This sounds like an excellent book!

    +5 gfc - mamabunny13
    +3 Fb-mamabunny shelor
    +3 twitter @mamabunny13

    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  25. Definitely want to read this one!

    Google follower (+5) and FaceBook (+3)

    lafra86 at gmail dot com

  26. This book sounds amazing. I am adding it to my TBR for sure. I love the backstory of research.

    I'm a google follower and a twitter follower. My email is jenniferlladd(at)gmail(dot)com

  27. No need to enter me.

    Wonderful post!

  28. I love anything about the Romanovs! Please enter me in this awesome giveaway!

    GFC Follower (+5)
    FB Follower (+3)

    Thanks, Amy!

    tiger_fan_1997 AT yahoo DOT com

  29. Not only do you sometimes have to kill favorite characters, you can learn unsavory things about them. Thank you for a great post, and please put me in the giveaway.

  30. I love the mystery that surrounds this family. This book sounds great.

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.
    GFC: Sophia Rose
    FB: Sally Michele Shaw
    Twitter: @sophiarose1816

    tweeted and +1'd on Google: Sophia Rose

  31. What a great giveaway!


    I'm already a follower.

  32. Hi, would love to read this book.

    So glad to have discovered this blog.
    I am a new follower and on fb also.


  33. Thank you for the giveaway!

  34. Thanks!+5 follower

    +3 member of fb group

    +3 twitter follower

    +1 shared on fb, google+ and twitter


  35. Often I can tell I am reading a fantastic story when I fall for the characters. There have been times when I needed to step back from the story so I know what you mean :) The Last Romanov has an interesting premise.

    GFC follower

    Twitter follower (Fieryna)


  36. I don't know as much about the Romanovs as I would like to and this sounds like the perfect place to start! Thanks for the giveaway!

    +5. GFC follower (Colleen Turner).
    +3. Facebook page follower (Colleen Turner).
    +1. Shared on Google+.
    +1. Shared on Facebook.

    Thanks Amy!

  37. I also have been fascinated by this family. I read abook several years ago about the family. I was wondering if you had been to their country, seen the things that they did for their everyday would be absolutely a trip of a lifetime! thank you!!!


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