Read Ella: Princess, Saint and Martyr by Christopher Warwick Online


Considered to have been the most beautiful princess in Europe, capable of arousing 'profane passions', Elisabeth of Hesse and by Rhine, or 'Ella' as she was known, was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and the daughter of Princess Alice of Great Britain and Grand Duke Louis of Hesse. A privileged, happy Victorian childhood was touched by tragedy not only with the early deaConsidered to have been the most beautiful princess in Europe, capable of arousing 'profane passions', Elisabeth of Hesse and by Rhine, or 'Ella' as she was known, was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and the daughter of Princess Alice of Great Britain and Grand Duke Louis of Hesse. A privileged, happy Victorian childhood was touched by tragedy not only with the early deaths of her youngest brother and sister but also that of her young mother. Close to Queen Victoria, Ella spent some of her happiest times in Britain. At 20, however, much against the wishes of her grandmother, who despised everything Russian, Ella became engaged to Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovich, the authoritarian younger brother of Tsar Alexander III. It was at their wedding that her younger sister, Alix, formed a love match with the future Tsar Nicholas II; an event which not only sealed the fate of both sisters, but that of the Imperial House of Romanov. But for these two marriages, the history of Russia might have been very different. With the assassination of her husband, Ella renounced society and, against considerable opposition, founded the first religious Order of its kind in Russia, working for the poor and destitute of Moscow. Though loved for her charitable works and pionerering achievements, Ella, like Nicholas, Alexandra, and fourteen members of their family, met a brutal death at the hands of the Bolsheviks. At the height of the Russian Revolution, she was taken captive to Siberia where, having been clubbed with rifle butts, she was hurled alive into a disused mineshaft and left to die of her injuries. Later retrieved, her incorrupt body was eventually laid to rest on the Mount of Olives. She was subsequently canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church as the Holy Imperial Martyr Saint Elisabeth Romanova....

Title : Ella: Princess, Saint and Martyr
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780470870631
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 340 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Ella: Princess, Saint and Martyr Reviews

  • Lydia [she/they] - Semi-hiatus
    2019-04-29 04:20

    For the most part this was a concise, informative and enjoyable read. It took a stance different than usual on commonly talked about points in Imperial Russian history. The author isn't afraid to give us less than savory details about the world of imperial Russia when necessary to tell Ella's story despite the fact that the book is, of course, a bit biased toward the imperial family due to its subject. In these streets, girls as young as ten, there were no virgins over the age of fourteen in the Khitrovka, learnt all they needed to know about prostitution, and professional beggar women could hire babies wailing through hunger, or shivering, barefoot toddlers, who would touch the hearts of passers by on the Tverskaya with its fine shops and houses and make them dig deeper into their pockets and purses. Sometimes the babies died in the beggar women's arms, but they kept them until dark so as not to miss any opportunity to collect a few more kopecks. In addition, this book also shed light on the marriage between Ella and Serge as a happy one and cut the conservative, reactionary grand duke in a more sympathetic light. Another interesting topic this book covers is the sexuality of certain members of the Hesse and Romanov families. In covering this topic, however, Warwick's description of Konstantin Konstantinovich likely written in ignorance to come across what some readers may consider bi erasure.Konstantin's homosexuality was an inescapable part of his character. Even so, it did not stop him from falling in love with Elisabeth of Saxe-Altenburg This did not offend me personally but as a pansexual person I can understand that putting people into "straight" or "gay" boxes is a bit of a false dichotomy.

  • Laura Edwards
    2019-05-11 02:16

    Wonderful portrayal of Ella which also offered insights to her mother, Alice, and her husband, Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich. While there was much in the book about Romanov history that I'm already familiar with, Warwick offered plenty of interesting tidbits which were new to me, such as why so many foreign princesses who married into the Russian Imperial family chose the patronymic "Feodorovna". An answer to a question I often wondered about. A nice, nuanced portrayal. Ella certainly does not come off as perfect, she has her faults like everyone else, which makes her more human and likeable. The most glaring example is in regards to her relationship with her niece by marriage, Maria Pavlovna. Maria's mother died when she was a baby and her father was exiled while she was still a child, making for a very delicate situation which Ella did not meet with her usual good grace. As Maria Pavlovna grew older, both were antagonistic toward one another, but my sympathies lie more with Maria since Ella was the adult and should have acted with more empathy toward the unfortunate situation. That said, I still think Ella was an extraordinary woman who did a lot of good. Warwick also does a good job of sifting through legend and hearsay to get to the facts surrounding Ella's arrest, incarceration and death. The gross inhumanity concerning the Romanov deaths is so depressing (especially when talking about innocents like Ella, the tsar's children, Sister Barbara and servants) and is the reason why I can never read books about the Romanovs in succession. Cried like a baby at the end. God bless Ella!

  • Vanessa
    2019-05-01 04:01

    I have heard about Ella before when reading about her sister Alix and being the Romanov junkie that I am I couldn't wait to dive into this book. Ella lived a wonderful life with her family in Hesse by Rhine and then lived an opulent life in Russia when she married Serge Romanov, Alexander III's brother. What I loved about Ella is how she dedicated her life to helping those in need and gave up all her material possessions to become a nun and start her own order. The book starts out with a lot of background on Princess Alice, Ella's mother and Queen Victoria's daughter. Although, I did like some of the background information on Princess Alice and her marriage to Ella's father, the author is very in-depth and detailed which was frustrating because I wanted to read about Ella not her mother. Also, a lot of his sentences were very long and wordy.I'm talking about 3-4 lines filled with extra descriptions here and there. Another reader mentioned that there was a picture of Ella's body after it was recovered from the mine shaft and I do agree that it seemed distasteful. It took me awhile to get through this book because it started to bore me here and there. I finished the book with a feeling admiration and respect for Ella, but still felt that I didn't really know her. I felt like I knew more about Serge, Princess Alice and the other Romanovs then Ella.

  • Helen Azar
    2019-04-30 01:12

    I may be somewhat biased about this book because I assisted the author a little in his research while he was writing it. But... trying to be as objective as I can be, I think that this is a very good biography of the life of Grand Duchess Elisabeth of Russia (formerly a Hesse Princess Ella). I don't like the title, because it implies that this is a religious work as opposed to historical, which is what it really is. Otherwise I do recommend it to those who are interested in Russian royalty or Russian pre-revolutionary history in general.

  • Charliee Keely Warmer
    2019-05-13 20:58

    I lov d this book on Ella she's my fav out the Hesse sisters she's been great at empress this was such a great read tells you a lot about her niece Maria Pavlovna to there was a Deffo difference between her and Alix and its was cutely to murder her she was a nun a saint to god she was no fret thou I didn't now the Kaiser tried to get her out of Russia

  • Eileen
    2019-05-01 04:59

    This is not a casual read. You have to know something about Russian history, Queen Victoria, and the Romanovs to understand what goes on. Very little in Russian history and nothing in Romanov history ends well and this is no exception. Nonetheless the story of Ella, Elisabeth of Hess and by Rhine, granddaughter of Victoria, sister of Empress Alexandra, is compelling. Knowing the history well does not mitigate the ending of ths beautiful and pious princess. My only critism is that this well written book ends rather abruptly, but then so did Ella's life.

  • Marion
    2019-05-26 00:17

    Another one of my readings about women with strong character. Fairly detailed but not an exhaustive read. One of the many granddaughters of Queen Victoria, Ella married Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovich, younger brother of Tsar Alexander II. Her sister Alexandra married Tsar Alexander III. After her husband was assassinated, Ella founded a religious order in Moscow who helped the poor and destitute. She was eventually canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church.

  • Rebecca Huston
    2019-05-23 22:06

    Most of the time, Ella of Hesse tends to be overlooked in favour of her better-known younger sister, Alix, who would be the wife of Nicholas II, last Tsar of Russia. But she was just as interesting, and her story just as complex. This was a great introduction to her life, and tended to be a cut above most of what else is written about her. For the more complete review, please go here:

  • Kelli
    2019-05-11 01:17

    Enjoyable biography. Helps keep all the Victorian cousins straight even without a family tree printed in book. Brings opposing views\opinions to light without distracting from the main narrative. Interesting portrayal and humanization of Grand Duke Serge. Haunting description of death without being overly graphic or gory. Presents a well rounded Ella as she moves through each stage: princess, saint and martyr.

  • Colleen Courtney
    2019-05-05 22:03

    A good little biography for Grand Duchess Ella, whose relatively simple life is usually overshadowed by the drama of those around her. The author focuses on dispelling the rumors about her, using the family’s letters and memories of those who knew her personally.

  • Joi
    2019-05-16 23:01

    Very interesting book, not just as a biography, but as a window into the life of royalty in the late 19th/early 20th century. There are quite a few excerpts from letters written at the time between the main players in this story, which I found very interesting.

  • Christopher Denman
    2019-05-17 03:10

    A bit too much detail, but a fascinating story.

  • Robert Alexander
    2019-05-21 05:06

    A nice book on the last days of Grand Duchess Elisavyeta. I liked it alot, though it seemed a little rushed in places.