Book Review: I Was Anastasia

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhorn
Rating: 4 stars
Expected Publication: 3/20/18
Genre: Historical Fiction
Read: 11/26/17

Summary from Goodreads:
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. Refusing to explain her presence in the freezing water or even acknowledge her rescuers, 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 young woman claims to be the Russian grand duchess.
As rumors begin to circulate through European society that the youngest Romanov daughter has survived the massacre at Ekaterinburg, old enemies and new threats are awakened. With a narrative that is equal parts The Talented Mr. Ripley and Memento, Lawhon wades into the most psychologically complex and emotionally compelling territory: 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 saga is every bit as moving and momentous as it is harrowing and twisted.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book was quite something. I feel that I, like a lot of girls who grew up watching and adoring the movie Anastasia, really know nothing about the historical facts surrounding Anastasia and the Romanov family. I did not know that there really was an Anna Anderson who may have been Anastasia.  So most of this book was very new information for me. It was quite fascinating.

The first 2/3ish of the book was a pretty solid 3 stars. Anna’s chapters started off really depressing and really hard to read more than a few at a time. It was a bit off-putting at first to have Anna’s timeline going backwards and Anastasia’s going forward, but once I realized it was to have them meet up on the night of the Romanov family’s deaths, it made more sense and actually got me reading faster. As they got within a few years of each other is where it jumped up to 4 stars.

Anastasia’s point of view was really interesting. Unlike the author, I do really enjoy reading about royalty and the upper class. It’s just such an unimaginable lifestyle, and it was almost shocking to see the Romanov family brought down from it to live like real people.

I know the book started out telling you that you might not like the ending, but boy, did I not like that ending. I mean, it is historical fact, but again, before reading this I wasn’t aware of the facts and that there actually was so much controversy about Anastasia.

Have you read I Was Anastasia? What are your thoughts? Do you like reading stories about historical figures, when you know how it’s going to end?



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