One Stone Left Unturned
by Marianna Heusler
At midnight on July 16th, 1918 Tsar Nicholas Romanov and his family was murdered, thus ending the Russian empire. Historians believe that a peasant by the name of Rasputin was instrumental in the downfall of the dynasty. Because Nicholas thought that Rasputin could cure their son, Alexis, who was suffering from hemophilia, Rasputin was able to influence the Imperial Family.
But what if Rasputin’s power did not come from God, as he claimed, but from a simple jewel, a tricolored, fifteen-carat tourmaline? And what if that very stone landed in the hands of a lonely teenager a century later?
It was difficult to sleep. Every time Tatiana opened her eyes, she saw creepy shadows flicker across the walls. And the soldiers below made so much noise, singing revolutionary songs. Tatiana thought that they were a disgusting group of people, much worse than the soldiers in Siberia. She couldn’t imagine this group helping to build a snow mound for sledding. These soldiers walked around with their shirts unbuttoned and their hairy chests exposed. They didn’t even bother with belts.
Tatiana was terrified to go to the bathroom. On the second day after they arrived, she was on the toilet when a tall, thin soldier burst in. He insisted upon watching her, so he could “guard her.” There were no locks on any of the doors, and the soldiers had rummaged through their luggage on several occasions, once even tearing up a photograph of Tatiana’s little dog, Ortino.
The family couldn’t even eat in peace. While they were around the small table, sweaty soldiers would put their filthy hands into the pot of veal stew to fish out large pieces of meat. When Nicholas pleaded with them to stop, one heavyset soldier with a scarred face and a bald head told Tatiana’s father that he had enough to eat and called him, “Nicholas, the Blood Drinker.”
Tatiana fled from the table, but she was followed by two soldiers who stood over her and gaped at her when she sank into her bed.
Whatever hope she might have clung to was rapidly disappearing as she watched her parents humiliated, his sisters degraded, her brother scorned. These soldiers hated the entire family. They don’t even know us, she cried into her pillow, and when she looked up, a soldier was leaning over her bed.
She ran back to the kitchen.
Absolutely brilliant!! Marianna Heusler gives her reader a well crafted story that blends the story of the last Russian czar with the life of an American teenager and her aging grandmother - seamlessly!!
To Purchase: Wild Child Publishing
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Marianna Heusler is a native of Holyoke, Massachusetts. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a BA in English Literature and a minor in education.
The author of over one hundred short stories, her work has appeared in magazines such as Woman’s World, Mystery Time, Calliope, Futures, Writer’s International Forum and Orchard Press as well as numerous anthologies. Her novel Buried In The Townhouse was published by Pendulum Press and was nominated for The Franklin Award.
The Night The Penningtons Vanished is a young adult book, the first in a mystery series, featuring Isabella Ripa. The story takes place in a small town in western Massachusetts and was released by The Larcom Press and nominated for an Edgar. The sequel The Day The Fortune Teller Died was also published
She wrote a young adult novel Angels From The Alphabet and a middle grade fantasy Annabelle’s Monsters.
Hilliard & Harris published her mystery Murder at St. Poylcarp and the sequel Cappuccino at the Crypt. Both books were picked up by Worldwide Mysteries and became part of their book club.
For over twenty years, she taught at all grade levels and has also been a school librarian. Her other careers have included a cosmetic executive, an editorial assistant and a reporter. She is currently teaching third grade in private all girls’ school in Manhattan.
She volunteers for Visible Ink, a program at Sloan Kettering Hospital, which unites professional writers with cancer patients.
She lives in New York City with her husband, Joel and her son, Maximilian.
In full compliance with FTC Guidelines, I received a free trade paperback edition of this book from the author and Goddess Fish Promotions in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was in no way compensated for this post, and the thoughts are my own.