The Last Tiara - Review
*I received this E-Arc from NetGalley and Blue Box Press. All reviews are my own.*
Romanovs? Missing Diamonds? Secret Society of treasure hunting? Sign me up! Oh, Historical Fiction, how I miss thee!!! I decided to break from the Young Adult books I’ve been reading for something with a little more substance. I thought I would get a glimpse of an Anastasia sighting, but instead, I got something better. I got a mystery from both past and present involving a tiara from the Imperial family in Russia. Here is The Last Tiara by M.J. Rose.
The Last Tiara is a well descriptive alternating story highlighting the past – Sofiya Petrovich’s life in Russia, and the present – her daughter, Isobelle Moon, learning about her parents and a mysterious tiara’s history. The story is well-crafted enough to take on multiple deep dives into the records of jewelers, architects, Tsars, and the Russian Revolution.
The story kicks off with the death of Isobelle’s mom caused by a car accident. While returning to her childhood home to renovate, Isobelle finds a box hidden in a wall with a barren tiara inside it. Curious as to why her mother had it, she takes it to a jeweler, who opens her world on trying to solve the mystery of the tiara’s origins and learning about her mother’s unspoken past.
Reading Isobelle’s half of the story had me on the edge of my seat. From her perspective, we stumbled on a mystery due to this crown with no jewels in it. Why did her mother have it, and how did she get it? I was also curious why her mother decided to never tell her about her past in Russia. What happened that made her flee to America and never want to reprise Russia ever again? Learning more about the tiara gave insights about her mother’s past – and her father’s whereabouts.
The second half of the story describes Sofiya’s life in Russia in 1915. In the middle of the war, she and her closest friend (who happens to be Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna) volunteer as nurses to take care of war-ridden soldiers injured from battle. There she meets Carpathian, a soldier who lost his memory during the attack and whom she slowly falls in love with. On this side of the story, we see Sofiya’s life connected to the tiara.
Of course, it was the plot twist at the end that did it for me. I never thought a twist could come from a story like this. It made the ending come alive and helped the two points of view merge into one. It was a shocker for me, and I wasn’t expecting it at all.
One thing that did irk me was Isobelle’s personality. Her character annoyed me at times. Even though she’s self-aware of what works for her and what doesn’t, she’s very insecure and self-conscious. There are a few times I don’t think she knew what her worth was. Her ability to not read people’s body language and gestures failed her throughout the story, and I’m disappointed she never grew from it.
Overall I’m giving this story a 4.5-star rating. I wish we could have found out more about the villain in the story and why he did the things he did, but hey, maybe it could be a spin-off. Think about it, Mrs. Rose! The Last Tiara is a beautiful story with an unexpected plot twist that gave the story a climatic push to a great ending, and for that, I wouldn’t mind reading another book from M.J. Rose.
The Last Tiara debuts on February 2, 2021.