Saturday, May 22, 2010

Book review--Anastasia's Secret by Susanne Dunlap

Blog Tour

Description from Goodreads:

“Will I never see you again either?” I asked, feeling as though I was about to jump off a high mountain peak and hope to land without hurting myself. That’s how impossible everything seemed at that moment, no matter what I did. “Perhaps we will meet again,” Sasha said, softening his voice. “But you must see that it does not matter. You have so much ahead of you. It’s your choice now. Choose the future! Choose life!”

For Anastasia Romanov, life as the privileged daughter of Russia’s last tsar is about to be torn apart by the bloodshed of revolution. Ousted from the imperial palace when the Bolsheviks seize control of the government, Anastasia and her family are exiled to Siberia. But even while the rebels debate the family’s future with agonizing slowness and the threat to their lives grows more menacing, romance quietly blooms between Anastasia and Sasha, a sympathetic young guard she has known since childhood. But will the strength of their love be enough to save Anastasia from a violent death?

Inspired by the mysteries that have long surrounded the last days of the Romanov family, Susanne Dunlap’s new novel is a haunting vision of the life—and love story—of Russia’s last princess.

My thoughts:

The Romanov family of Russia have always held a certain fascination for me.  I can remember reading about the tragic fate of the royal family when I was a teen and I subsequently looked for any book I could find on the subject.  Then there was a television movie about Anastasia surviving (which starred Amy Irving) and the attempt to prove her identity and I was thoroughly hooked on the notion that she did indeed survive and was living somewhere as a happy old woman.  I think most of us who know what happened to the Romanovs and have heard the legends surrounding Anastasia have always hoped that she did survive.  It's human nature to hope for triumph out of tragedy.

So when I saw this book come up for review on Other Shelf Tours, I signed up immediately.  And I was not disappointed.  The book relates the events leading up to the downfall of the Tsar and the fate of the Romanov family told entirely from Anastasia's point of view.  And a forbidden love enters the mix, which adds to the intrigue as Anastasia struggles to keep it secret from her family.  As time goes by, it becomes increasingly important to keep their relationship secret because Sasha wants to use his unique position as a soldier to save Anastasia.  Ultimately, Anastasia must decide between her family or the love of her life.  I will not tell you her decision.  That you will have to read for yourself!

I really enjoyed this book because it took an intriguing historical event and put a very personal, human face on it.  You feel sympathy for the royal family, yet it is also evident why the royal family's extravagance was misconstrued by the common people.  Yes, they did live lavishly, which is typical of a royal family, but they were a close knit family who spent much time together as a family in activities very much the same as any ordinary family.  Also, it was obvious that the Tsar did care about his subjects.  I found Ms. Dunlap's work to be very historically accurate.  Although it is obvious that this book is written for an young adult audience, it was a fast read and it kept my interest until the end.  I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys YA books, especially those who like the historical genre. 

The awful fate of the Romanovs

One of the greatest mysteries for most of the twentieth century was the fate of the Romanov family, the last Russian monarchy. Following the abdication of Tsar NicholasII, he and his wife, Alexandra, and their five children were eventually exiled to the city of Yekaterinburg. The family, along with four loyal members of their staff, was held captive by members of the Ural Soviet. According to historical reports, in the early morning hours of July 17, 1918 the entire family along with four loyal members of their staff was executed by a firing squad. After a failed attempt to dispose of the remains in an abandoned mine shaft, the bodies were transported to an open field only a few kilometers from the mine shaft. Nine members of the group were buried in one mass grave while two of the children were buried in a separate grave. With the official discovery of the larger mass grave in 1991, and subsequent DNA testing to confirm the identities of the Tsar, the Tsarina, and three of their daughters - doubt persisted that these remains were in fact those of the Romanov family. In the summer of 2007, a group of amateur archeologists discovered a collection of remains from the second grave approximately 70 meters from the larger grave. We report forensic DNA testing on the remains discovered in 2007 using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), autosomal STR, and Y- STR testing. Combined with additional DNA testing of material from the 1991 grave, we have virtually irrefutable evidence that the two individuals recovered from the 2007 grave are the two missing children of the Romanov family: the Tsarevich Alexei and one of his sisters. (source: Science Blogs)

Romanov Royal Family
(Anastasia is the youngest girl in the center with her brother, Alexei)

This book was read for the following challenges:

I will list the challenges soon.

FTC Disclosure:  I received this book in conjunction with a blog tour.  Book was mailed on to next tour participant.  I was not monetarily compensated for reading or reviewing this book.


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  1. I wonder how the rumor that Anastasia had survived started? It's persisted for a long time; people want to believe that not all of the royal family perished.

  2. Great review! Sounds like a fascinating book, and I'm curious to see what happens between Anastacia and Sasha!

  3. I want to read this. I find the Romanov's fascinating. Great review

  4. I have had my eye on this book for a little while. I'm glad to know you enjoyed it. I will have to check it out - the Romanovs have always interested me.

  5. I have to agree I have always been fasinated with Anastasia as well. I always wonder if the woman who showed up really was her or not. But it sounds as she wasn't. Sad. This does sound like an interesting and great read. Thank You!

  6. This is the second YA Anastasia book that has come out this year. I wonder why now? (The book I attempted to read was Dreaming Anastasia) This book looks like one I would love. The tale of the Romanovs has always captivated me.

  7. Sounds really good! Who can resist tales of lost princesses, right?

  8. Adding this one to the wish list--I'm also fascinated by this part of history.

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