Thursday, March 4, 2021

Book Review: The Last Tiara by M.J. Rose

 Book Review



The Last Tiara

M.J. Rose

 

Book Description:

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.

 

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My Five-Star Review:

A woman flees Russia with a treasured package in her possession and builds a new life under a new name in America. Her secrets stay hidden, even from her own daughter, Isobelle Moon, and when she dies in an accident, Isobelle is at a loss about her mother’s past.

While remodeling the apartment they shared, Isobelle discovers the skeleton of a tiara hidden within the walls, the jewels no longer in their settings. This takes her on a journey to discover where her mother had acquired such an item and in doing so, learning the truth of her mother’s past.

The Last Tiara is a beautiful story told in alternating time periods as it unravels the secrets of the past. As Isobelle struggles in a man’s world in 1947 as an architect, she begins to learn of her mother’s struggles in Russia during the war and of all her mother lost before beginning again in America. Beautifully written and intriguing, I highly recommend this wonderful story of love, loss, and dedication to family.

 

 

 


About the Author:

New York Times, USAToday, and Wall St. Journal bestseller, M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother's favorite books before she was allowed. She believes mystery and magic are all around us but we are too often too busy to notice... books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it.


Rose's work has appeared in many magazines including Oprah Magazine and The Adventurine and she has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, WSJ, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio.

Rose graduated from Syracuse University, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors - Authorbuzz.com. Rose is also the co-founder, with Liz Berry, of 1001DarkNights.com.

The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose's novels in the Reincarnationist series.

 

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