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Mar. 31st, 2018


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Title: I Was Anastasia
Author: Ariel Lawhon
Format: Epub
Rating: 3/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: March 29, 2018 to March 31, 2018
Book Summary: 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.
Book Review: Did she or didn't she?

That was a question that had been plaguing those whom had escaped the turmoil in Russia over the appearance of Anna Anderson, whom was claiming to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia. This woman knew things about Anatasia's life that only those with intimate knowledge the grand duchess would know. So how did she manage to get this information? Was someone feeding it to her? Or was she really the Grand Duchess herself, whom escaped the fate her own family suffered.

It wouldn't be until the 90's we knew what kind of horrors the family suffered when their mass graves were uncovered. The only ones missing were that of two of the children. It would appear, at that time, that Anastasia had managed to make it out alive and here she was.

But as fate would have it, it would once again be called into question when the two final graves of the Romanov family were found.

So who was this woman that had tried to make the world believe that she was Anastasia? And why had she done what she had?

These questions would never be answered as Anna Anderson died before the graves of Anastasia and her family were found. But DNA would later prove that Anna Anderson was not the grand duchess and that she was someone entirely.

Although a fictious look at Anna Anderson and her life as she fought to be recognized as the real Anatasia, we are also given glimpses at the life of the grand duchess herself from the moment they realized the revolution had been brought to their doors. The story was fascinating to read and we had two sets of lives being played out before us but each with a different ending.

Unfortunately this book seemed to drag that often bordered on boring. I had to put the book down for a bit, do what needed to be done around the house, and then return to it. Anna Anderson's husband comes off as one of those whom is desperate not only to prove that his wife is the real deal but to keep himself in the limelight. I would not be surprised if that is the reason behind the marriage. He sought fame and fortune and what better way to gain it than through the woman he marries.

As for Anna herself, she knows that this fight is over. The courts of ruled against her and now any chance of fame and fortune has pretty much dwindled. Yet she continues to believe that she is the real deal and that everything and everyone is wrong about her. Her character within these pages felt aloof and cold. There seemed to be no feeling....no ability to connect to the character of Anna Anderson or even a remotely point in belief that she was Anastasia within these pages.

This is the first book I have come across that has been written about this case and I must admit I was thrilled to find it. Unfortunately the book was a disappointment to me. I was fascinated by this case since I was a child. Here was a woman whom claimed that she had survived such a horrific event and I couldn't understand why any of her family didn't welcome her with open arms but I could also understand that the royals of Russia were a bit reserved and wanted to make sure of it. They didn't want anyone just to come in and say they were part of the royal family.

This leads me to another question: Why the claim of Anastasia? Why not the claim of one of the other grand duchesses? This was a question I could never understand. Was there something about Anastasia that drew Anna to her rather than the others? I suppose this is a question that will never be answered.

If you have a fascination for the Russian royal family and Anastasia, then this book is definitely the book for you.