WeWriWa—Engagement photos


Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. This week’s snippet comes right after last week’s, as the engagement photography session proceeds. Arkadiya no longer objects to posing in a short-sleeved down which shows the burn scars on her arms.

The photographer originally suggested Arkadiya stand instead of sit so as not to exaggerate the height difference, but that won’t do for His Majesty.


One of the engagement photos of Aleksey’s paternal grandmother, Princess Dagmar of Denmark (known as Minnie), and her first fiancé, Tsesarevich Nikolay Aleksandrovich (Nixa). Sadly, Nixa died of meningitis at age 21, and Minnie ended up marrying his younger brother Sasha.

He motioned to the divan. “Please, sit beside me.  I don’t care if the height difference looks exaggerated.  God made me very tall, and made you somewhat shorter.”

Arkadiya had a seat to his left, assuming a serious expression for the camera.  She’d studied the engagement photographs of the last few Imperial couples, and they all looked appropriately formal and serious.  What she wasn’t expecting was for the Emperor to suddenly put his arm around her and pull her in right up against him, nor to reach over and take her left hand in his right hand.  Her heart beat a little faster at being so close to him.  He had a very masculine scent, and his physique felt better-developed than Arkadiya would’ve expected from someone with a hereditary disease.  Perhaps he had a stronger constitution than his hemophiliac cousins, or he’d found the secret of being physically active without unnecessarily risking his life.


Aleksey and his double-second-cousins Princess Ileana and Prince Nicolae of Romania in 1914. Many people speculate Aleksey and Ileana may have married in real life.

Aleksey had grown to somewhere between 5’5 and 5’8 by the end of his life, though it seems most likely he was on the tallest side of that spectrum, given photographic evidence of how tall he was getting in the first year of captivity. He possibly was even taller than his 5’7 father, and shaping up to be over six feet tall like most of the men on his father’s side of the family.


13 comments on “WeWriWa—Engagement photos

  1. Ed Hoornaert says:

    His affectionate nature keeps surprising her. One of these days, she’ll learn to expect this sort of thing from him.


  2. Kim Magennis says:

    How special to have someone (especially in that era) prepared to publically demonstrate affection.


  3. She’ll become more self-confident as time passes and more people accept her, I think. It’s tough for a shy person to be in this kind of position!


  4. Author Jessica E. Subject says:

    Well, he definitely is different than she expects, all in a good way. 🙂


  5. I love his character! And thanks for including all the interesting historical information in your posts, Anna. 🙂


  6. Why should it matter that there’s a height difference? I like how he keeps showing her that he cares!


  7. I enjoyed the excerpt as always but the photos and tidbits you share about the real Aleksey are fascinating and poignant and make me feel so bad for him (and his family)! I thoroughly enjoy reading them but it is tragic piece of the past for sure.


  8. I agree with Veronica. Wonderful snippet, enjoyable to read, but made doubly so by the real life history you include. I look forward to reading more.


  9. Jenna Jaxon says:

    So many “what ifs” to the real story. So sad we’ll never know. Which makes your version that much sweeter. His fiancée will relax around him more as they get to know one another better, I hope.


  10. emmygatrell says:

    I like him. I like him a lot. He’s kind of a sweetheart isn’t he?


  11. He’s just going to continue to surprise her, isn’t he?


  12. Such a nice snippet. I do love the historical photos too.


  13. She is going to fall for him. Nothing better than a little bit of closeness to mend the hearts.


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