From the author of A Most English Princess comes a rich novel about young Princess Alix of Hesse—the future Alexandra, last Empress of Imperial Russia—and her sister, Princess Ella. Their decision to marry into the Romanov royal family changed history.

They were granddaughters of Queen Victoria and two of the most beautiful princesses in Europe. Princesses Alix and Ella were destined to wed well and wisely. But while their grandmother wants to join them to the English and German royal families, the sisters fall in love with Russia—and the Romanovs.

Defying the Queen’s dire warnings, Ella weds the tsar’s brother, Grand Duke Serge. Cultivated, aloof, and proud, Serge places his young wife on a pedestal for all to admire. Behind palace gates, Ella struggles to secure private happiness.

Alix, whisked away to Russia for Ella’s wedding, meets and captivates Nicky—heir apparent to the Russian throne. While loving him deeply, Alix hears a call of conscience, urging her to walk away.

Their fateful decisions to marry will lead to tragic consequences for not only themselves and their families, but for millions in Russia and around the globe.

The Romanov Brides is a moving and fascinating portrait of two bold and spirited royal sisters, and brings to vivid life imperial Russia—a dazzling, decadent world on the brink of disappearing forever. 

About the author(s)

Clare McHugh is the author of A Most English Princess, a historical novel about the family of Queen Victoria, and The Romanov Brides. A former newspaper reporter and magazine editor, McHugh graduated from Harvard College with a degree in European history. She currently lives in London and in Amagansett, NY. 


"Two motherless German princesses struggle to choose husbands from the limited pool of European suitors, while we, as readers, know the devastating consequences their ultimate decisions will have. Clare McHugh illuminates the hearts and souls of these young women in a novel that is clever, gripping, and beautifully written. A masterpiece!" — Gill Paul, author of A Beautiful Rival

"I truly could not put this book down. Clare McHugh is a genius at finding new dramatic narratives in the history of Queen Victoria's tragic descendants...Each character in this glittering royal tapestry is fresh and vivid, as they navigate the complex personal dynamics that will change the course of history. Utterly addictive!" — Mariah Fredericks, author of The Lindbergh Nanny

"A rich indulgence!" — People on A Most English Princess

“In this sweeping, immersive novel, Clare McHugh draws readers into the mesmerizing world of the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria—Princess Vicky—as she emerges into a powerful force in her own right and ascends to become the first German Empress.”  — Marie Benedict, New York Times bestselling author, on A Most English Princess

"With an impeccable attention to research, sense of place, and filled with relatable characters, A Most English Princess will sweep you away. A literary triumph with flavors of Daphne du Maurier, Edith Wharton, and Downton Abbey, this novel is poised to become a favorite for historical fiction lovers." — Armando Lucas Correa, bestselling author of The German Girl and The Daughter's Tale

"The strength of one woman, Crown Princess Victoria, to influence the path of European history during turbulent times is striking in this stunning debut from Clare McHugh." — Geri Krotow, bestselling author, on A Most English Princess