Thursday, March 22, 2018

I Was Anastasia - Historical Fiction Review

Rating: Very Good! 
Source: NetGalley

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.

Genre: Fiction 

Why I Picked This Book:
  I've always been fascinated by Russian history - especially this chapter of it and this is an author I've really enjoyed in the past.

My Impression:
  I have fallen down the Anna Anderson/Anastasia Romanov rabbit hole a number of times starting when I first watched the Discovery documentary about the discovery of the mass grave back in the early 1990s.  I've also read a few books on the subject including a book that focused on Anna Anderson.   Needless to say this is a case that intrigues me quite a bit!

This is a heartbreaking story.  Neither Anastasia or the woman known as Anna Anderson had happy lives and Lawhon brought them to life with her incredibly well researched tale.  I could feel the pain of 17 year old Anastasia as her world completely explodes around her and the frustration and isolation of the older Anderson as she fights for recognition.

Lawhon did a remarkable job bringing a complicated story to life and making it a compelling read.  This is a story that I believe I know the ending to and yet that didn't keep me from becoming completely immersed in the book.  While not the fastest read it's interesting, informative, heartbreaking and thoroughly entertaining.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  While I've read the first book by this author there is still one I have yet to read.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you enjoy historical fiction I think you'll enjoy this book.


  1. I keep meaning to read a book by this author, but have not as yet. I've always been intrigued by the Anastasia story - who isn't interested in real-life mysteries? Putting this one on my list.

  2. I have enjoyed a couple of Lawhon's books but unlike yourself I am not really interested in the Russian story - so harsh and sad! But if I were I'd definitely read it because I know she brings history like this alive.

  3. I've always been fascinated by Anastasia's tale.

  4. It does sound great and I wonder did they ever solve the mystery of whether she truly was anastasia? I sense a google search coming on lol... it does sound like such a fascinating story though.

  5. I am so glad you liked this one, Katherine! I hope to read it this spring or summer. I just love the subject matter--the whole Romanov history and all that.