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Podcast: The Lost Daughter

By September 17, 2019January 7th, 2023Book Reviews, Jennifer's Podcasts, Uncategorized
Gill Paul

The Lost Daughter
by Gill Paul

Harper Collins

A podcast for The New Books Network

A Lost Grand Duchess and a Life Reclaimed

Grand Duchess Maria Romanova arrives in Ekaterinburg in 1918 with her parents, the former Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra. After months of house arrest in the deep interior of Russia, the family is beginning to despair of ever being rescued. As conditions worsen, Maria and her family are increasingly at the mercy of the men set to guard them. As the pro-monarchist White Army approaches Ekaterinburg, the fate of the Romanovs hangs in the balance.

Thousands of miles away and six decades later, Australian Val Doyle has her hands full with an abusive husband, a small daughter, and a mystery surrounding her recently deceased father, who died claiming, “I didn’t want to kill her!” The only clues to what may have happened are a vintage camera with a roll of film still in it and an exquisite jeweled box that refuses to open.

Veteran novelist Gill Paul unravels the stories of Maria and Val in The Lost Daughter (Harper Collins, 2019), a meticulously researched, engrossing novel set in Russia, China, and Australia, which follows her highly popular 2016, The Secret Wife, in which she imagined an alternative history for Maria’s elder sister, Grand Duchess Tatiana. As Val finds the courage to defend herself against her husband, so too, does Maria mature into a strong, self-sufficient woman, though in a vastly different setting than the one imagined for a Romanov Grand Duchess.

The Lost Daughter is a thoroughly satisfying read: Romanov fans will rejoice at this latest iteration of the alternative narrative; one which elevates the genre considerably. Gill Paul’s deft plot twists as Val tries to solve her father’s mystery are rewarding and perfectly crafted, as is the marvelous detail Paul brings to the sweep of twentieth-century history.

Gill Paul’s best-selling historical novels have been translated into twenty languages. They are set in recent history and feature real historical characters presented innovatively. Gill is a native of Scotland, but today makes her home in London. She is a popular speaker on subjects such as the British Royal Family, the Romanovs, and writing. Follow Gill on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, or visit her website.

Download a free chapter from The Lost Daughter

Enjoy my conversation with Gill Paul.

Recommended Related Reading

Some of the many books Gill mentioned in our discussion, which she found excellent source material for The Lost Daughter.

Helen Rappaport’s best-selling study of the four Romanov Grand Duchesses is a ground-breaking work that utilizes new and old material.  An engaging and engrossing read.

Helen Rappaport’s detailed study of the murder of Nicholas II and his family at Yekaterinburg in 1918.

Pierre Gilliard’s intimate memoir of his thirteen years with the Romanovs as the children’s tutor.  He went into exile with the family but was not allowed to accompany them to Yekaterinburg.

Helen Azar’s highly anticipated translation of Grand Duchess Maria’s diaries follows her equally engrossing translations of Tatiana Romanov, Daughter of the Last Tsar: Diaries and Letters, 1913–1918 and The Diary of Olga Romanov: Royal Witness to the Russian Revolution.

Read more about The Romanovs

I've curated the best biographies, autobiographies, studies, and photograph albums of the Romanovs, with a heavy lean on Nicholas and Alexandra and their family. You'll find all memoirs of the Imperial Family and their retinue here, as well as a complete list of photograph albums and coffee table books. This is updated two or three times a year to reflect new releases.

Learn More

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I write features and posts about a wide range of travel-related topics.  I love to “follow” someone famous (and dead) around a city.  I collect books about travel destinations and love to share them here with you.


Exploring food markets, developing recipes, and just eating was once my hobby, but now it is a full-time job.  I write about food markets around the world, develop recipes, and study culinary history and emerging trends.  I have a particular interest in Russian and Eastern European cuisine and culinary history.


I believe that great books are part of a life well lived and this extends to audio entertainment.  Under the Lifestyle umbrella, I review books, podcasts, and audiobooks, I discuss writing and reading and am constantly on the lookout for new ways to be productive and clear all manner of clutter from my life.

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