I Was Anastasia

I Was Anastasia

"Compelling and utterly fascinating...drifts far into the mysterious lives of Anastasia Romanov and Anna Anderson."--Lisa Wingate, author of Before We Were YoursIn 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,...

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Title:I Was Anastasia
Author:Ariel Lawhon
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I Was Anastasia Reviews

  • Tracey

    WOW! Just, a 5+ stars WOW!

    A big Thank you goes out to Netgalley/Doubleday Publishing and the author Ariel Lawhon for an advanced ebook copy.

    “Am I truly Anastasia Romanov? A beloved daughter. A revered icon. A Russian grand duchess.”

    This book was just exquisite! When I was around 12 years old I became interested in the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia/Anna Anderson story. And just young enough and romantic enough to believe Anna was truly the Grand Duchess and survived the Revolutio

    WOW! Just, a 5+ stars WOW!

    A big Thank you goes out to Netgalley/Doubleday Publishing and the author Ariel Lawhon for an advanced ebook copy.

    “Am I truly Anastasia Romanov? A beloved daughter. A revered icon. A Russian grand duchess.”

    This book was just exquisite! When I was around 12 years old I became interested in the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia/Anna Anderson story. And just young enough and romantic enough to believe Anna was truly the Grand Duchess and survived the Revolution. But, like most young dreams and fantasies it was not to be.

    I’m honestly having a hard time with this review because there are no words that would adequately describe this book. The Anna Anderson timeline itself starts in the present and works backwards with parts of Anastasia's life woven in which is going forward. And this was absolutely brilliant! I loved how the author gave us descriptions of the Romanov’s days as captives, I don’t ever remember reading details quite like this before. I knew how the ending was going to be, but I was still tense and anxious like this was my first reading of the Tsar family story. Then Ariel gifts us with this awesome last chapter followed by an internal dialogue of Anna Anderson, which was very astute. And then follows that with the best Author’s note ever.

    I am sure most if not all know the ending to this story, I say, Read. It. Anyway. This book has become my favorite historical read of 2017! And that book cover is my absolute favorite, ever! Gorgeous! Ariel Lawhon you have found a forever fan.

  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    To be reviewed!

  • Debra

    "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." -Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

    Most people know the story of the execution/assassination of Tsar Nicholas II and the rest of the Romanov family in Elakterinburg, Russia at the hands of the Bolsheviks following the Russian revolution. Most have also heard of the woman (Anna Anderson) who claimed for years to be Anastasia Romanov and that she survived the brutal attack that claimed the lives of her family a

    "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." -Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

    Most people know the story of the execution/assassination of Tsar Nicholas II and the rest of the Romanov family in Elakterinburg, Russia at the hands of the Bolsheviks following the Russian revolution. Most have also heard of the woman (Anna Anderson) who claimed for years to be Anastasia Romanov and that she survived the brutal attack that claimed the lives of her family and servants. This is a clever telling of that story. The question about what whether Anastasia Romanov survived the firing squad in the basement has fascinated people for decades. Lack of DNA testing and location of a grave/burial site helped many who stepped forward to claim that she was the sole survivor. Of course, through the passing of time, DNA testing has been conducted and grave site excavations have given a clear answer.

    But as the saying goes...it's not the destination, it's the journey. Lawhon takes the reader on a unique journey using two story lines. While reading this book, readers will either enjoy or become annoyed by the storytelling. While Anastasia Romanov's story is told chronologically, the story of Anna Anderson is told in reverse. In Author's note, Ariel Lawhon states that the movie "Memento" is a favorite of hers. This style of writing also reminded me of the book "All the missing girls" which was also told in reverse.

    I found that I rather liked how she told her story. The storytelling was unique, granted, it did take me a couple of chapters to wrap my head around it. Thankfully, the chapters are labeled with the time you are reading. That is a big help! There is a lot of historical detail in this book. It is evident that the Author did a great deal of research prior to the writing of this book. History buffs may detect that Lawhon blended several characters into one (i.e. had one character be a blending of 2 real life guards of the Romanov's) in order to help the reader keep track of events and not be weighed down by too many characters.

    It is hard to say too much without giving away spoilers, but this work of historical fiction was very good. I really appreciated how she blended historical facts with fiction. If you do not know the entire history about the Romanov's family's fall from grace and the events leading up to their execution, it is laid out for you here.

    I highly recommend reading the Author's note at the end. I think this is essential. She details her research, why she blended characters, her inspiration for the reverse story telling and what lead her to write this book. I was actually deciding between a 3.5 and a 4 star rating, and then I read the Author's note and that pushed the book to a 4 star rating for me.

    I love when books cause me to think, feel and also to learn. I did learn some facts while reading this book and I found I often wanted to put the book down and think about what I had just read. Mainly because things in this book really happened. Sitting and thinking about the horrible treatment of this family (especially the girls) and what they endured -living in constant fear and dread, I can't even imagine.

    Again, interesting story-telling and a compelling read.

    Thank you to Doubleday books and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced readers copy of this book.

    See more of my reviews at

  • ☮Karen

    Remember the thriller recently written completely in a reverse timeline, and readers either tolerated it or hated it? I didn't mind it too much, once used to it. Well, in this book only half of it goes backwards in time, but it bothered me anyway. The chapters alternate between Anna Anderson's story and Anastasia's. The Anastasia chapters slowly lead up to when the Romanov family is executed in 1918, and Anna's go from 1970 to around the time of the executions. Only at the end do we know how it

    Remember the thriller recently written completely in a reverse timeline, and readers either tolerated it or hated it? I didn't mind it too much, once used to it. Well, in this book only half of it goes backwards in time, but it bothered me anyway. The chapters alternate between Anna Anderson's story and Anastasia's. The Anastasia chapters slowly lead up to when the Romanov family is executed in 1918, and Anna's go from 1970 to around the time of the executions. Only at the end do we know how it all started.

    I have been wondering... why another book on Anastasia; doesn't everyone already know this story? Have we not watched it played memorably by Ingrid Bergman in the great old film,

    , and heard the countless rumors

    of a Romanov surviving? I was curious what this author could offer that wasn't already done. For me, a few more personal details, and a renewed curiosity about Anna Anderson. This is historical fiction and the author says she fudged on some details but not much.

    All in all, I am not certain I'd recommend this one unless you do not already know the story, and even then a non-fiction might deliver better. I have enjoyed looking at some pictures of the two characters, and there was a definite facial resemblance. If this was my first time learning about the Romanovs, I am sure I would have rated it much higher. Knowing how it would end and failing to feel any real connection until the last couple of chapters sabotaged this experience for me, I'm afraid. Even so, some parts will remain memorable, I'm sure.

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy.

  • Cindy Burnett

    The story of whether Anna Anderson was actually Anastasia Romanov has fascinated me since I was young. When discoveries were made relevant to this story, I followed them closely. Naturally, I was very excited to read I Was Anastasia, and I knew how the book would turn out (I am choosing my wording carefully because I do not want to spoil the ending for those unfamiliar with the tale). While I enjoyed the book, I had significant trouble following the story as it unfolded in I Was Anastasia. Lawho

    The story of whether Anna Anderson was actually Anastasia Romanov has fascinated me since I was young. When discoveries were made relevant to this story, I followed them closely. Naturally, I was very excited to read I Was Anastasia, and I knew how the book would turn out (I am choosing my wording carefully because I do not want to spoil the ending for those unfamiliar with the tale). While I enjoyed the book, I had significant trouble following the story as it unfolded in I Was Anastasia. Lawhon chose to tell Anastasia’s story chronologically and Anna’s backwards through time making it very hard at times to understand where I was in the story. I also felt it could have been edited down a bit more.

    I Was Anastasia is clearly a labor of love for Ariel Lawhon, and her research and effort show through in her retelling of Anna Anderson and Anastasia Romanov’s stories. Thanks to Doubleday for my ARC. All opinions are my own.

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