I Was Anastasia

I Was Anastasia

Book - 2018
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"Compelling and utterly fascinating...drifts far into the mysterious lives of Anastasia Romanov and Anna Anderson."--Lisa Wingate, author of Before We Were Yours In an enthralling new feat of historical suspense, Ariel Lawhon unravels the extraordinary twists and turns in Anna Anderson's 50-year battle to be recognized as Anastasia Romanov. Is she the Russian Grand Duchess or the thief of another woman's legacy? Countless others have rendered their verdict. Now it is your turn. Russia, July 17, 1918 Under direct orders from Vladimir Lenin, Bolshevik secret police force Anastasia Romanov, along with the entire imperial family, into a damp basement in Siberia where they face a merciless firing squad. None survive. At least that is what the executioners have always claimed. Germany, February 17, 1920 A young woman bearing an uncanny resemblance to Anastasia Romanov is pulled shivering and senseless from a canal in Berlin. Refusing to explain her presence in the freezing water, she is taken to the hospital where an examination reveals that her body is riddled with countless, horrific scars. When she finally does speak, this frightened, mysterious woman claims to be the Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia. Her detractors, convinced that the young woman is only after the immense Romanov fortune, insist on calling her by a different name: Anna Anderson. As rumors begin to circulate through European society that the youngest Romanov daughter has survived the massacre, old enemies and new threats are awakened. With a brilliantly crafted dual narrative structure, Lawhon wades into the most psychologically complex and emotionally compelling territory yet: the nature of identity itself. The question of who Anna Anderson is and what actually happened to Anastasia Romanov creates a saga that spans fifty years and touches three continents. This thrilling story is every bit as moving and momentous as it is harrowing and twisted.
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2018
ISBN: 9780385541695
Branch Call Number: ONORDER
Characteristics: 352 p.


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Jul 12, 2018

This story about Anna Anderson’s claim to be Anastasia Romanov just never grabbed me. The story of the Romanov family’s private lives and their journey through danger and to death was very interesting. But Anna Anderson’s story seemed ultimately untold. Rather, it was mapped out as to where she went and who she stayed with, then the next place and person. What was truly going on in her mind is an unanswered (unasked?) question. Of course there was no way for the author to know that, but it left me feeling unsatisfied. I wish there had been a surprise of some sort, or at least an explanation, at the end. It was a fast read but I would not recommend it.

ArapahoeLesley Jul 06, 2018

I am satisfied. I spent most of the book fearing the author wouldn't be historically accurate.

Jul 04, 2018

Stick with it! It takes some time to get used to the order in which the story is told but don’t let that keep you from finishing it. Also, don’t do any research on the historical figures before or while you read this.

ArapahoeTiegan Jun 25, 2018

I actually did not know the truth of Anna Anderson, so I greatly appreciated Ariel Lawhon's choice in writing her timeline backwards, alongside Anastasia's timeline, which moved forwards. I really appreciated the author's note at the end of the book explaining some of the liberties taken with the story and some characters, as well as the intriguing way in which Lawhon conducted her research on Anna Anderson while writing the book, which helped her preserve the timeline she chose. I do not know much about the Romanovs or the events in Russia during all of this time, but this book has definitely piqued my interest in learning more. If there is nothing else to say about this book, it is that it is a nice starting point for exploring history. However, there is plenty to say about this book. I feel it was very well done and just might sit with me for a little while.

ArapahoeJenny May 19, 2018

Fascinating story about the fate of Anastasia Romanov. Fast moving historical fiction that reads like a thriller.

OPL_KrisC May 10, 2018

I am a sucker for anything written about the Anastasia and the Romanovs. While this book wasn't what I expected, I still enjoyed reading it. My one wish is that is was a little faster-paced.

May 07, 2018

This started out slowly and I had a bit of trouble managing the non-linear format at first...but once I got about half way I couldn't put it down. The author does a great job of keeping the reader on their toes if only to sweep the rug out from under them. Great, great novel.

debwalker Apr 26, 2018

Another take on the tragic Romanov family. This one is getting strong reviews.

ArapahoeSummer Apr 06, 2018

The beauty of this fictional memoir is in the historical detail woven into the life stories of Anna Andersen and the Romanov family. Anna's story is told in reverse, allowing readers to explore their unanswered questions as events in both story lines come together.

Apr 04, 2018

For those unfamiliar with the controversy that surrounded the basis of this novel this book will be very interesting. It is a bizarre and fascinating story. I found this fictional version entertaining, but it was difficult to follow. I had to really focus and stay alert. My memory had to be spectacular. I bookmarked and highlighted quite a bit so I could go back and reference.

This story is told in reverse. There are conversations that happen and the reader is left to guess who characters are and how they play out in the story. I have read books similar to this format with no issues, so I honestly am not sure why this was such a struggle for me.

This novel follows two characters. Anastasia's story is told chronologically from start to finish while Anna's story is told in reverse, making it very difficult to understand where in the story I was and how exactly the two connect. Perhaps I was just waiting too hard for the connection to happen that I was distracted from the story?

Overall, the descriptions and characters were decent and the story line is entertaining. If you have read other non-fiction books about the Romanovs and know the outcome of this debate (no spoilers) than this book probably isn't for you. I felt I got more satisfaction reading nonfiction or simply researching online and looking at pictures of the women.

Thanks to Netgalley and Doubleday Books for allowing me an egalley to read and give my honest review.

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