Book Review Of “I Was Anastasia” By Ariel Lawhon @doubledaybooks @ArielLawhon


Ariel Lawhon, a rising star in historical suspense, unravels the extraordinary twists and turns in Anna Anderson’s fifty-year battle to be recognized as Anastasia Romanov. Is she the beloved daughter, revered icon, and Russian grand duchess or is she an imposter, liar, and the thief of another woman’s legacy?

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. 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. (From Goodreads)


First and foremost, Thank you Double Day Books for sending me an ARC of this book, in exchange of this honest review.

I was a huge Anastasia nerd in high-school, I was fascinated by the whole history of events. I had always held up hope that Anastasia was alive, and that she had escaped that horrid night. So when I was pursuing Netgalley one night, and I saw this book pop up, I had to have it! I emailed Double Day, and requested the ARC on Netgalley, and Lucky for me, I was approved for both.

This is a HUGE statement I am about to unload on all of you, this is the best book I have ever read. It is utterly remarkable. It was so well written, well paced, and loaded with so much factual information, while not coming across as stuffy and boring. (If you read the authors note, you will see she embellished very little of the true story) this book was breathtaking, and I mean that quite literally, there are moments in this book that took my breath away, I felt like I couldn’t breathe until I finished this book, especially during the last 20% of it.

This book was written in two view points, from Anastasia Romanov, and from “Anna Anderson” and it may sound confusing, but Anna Anderson’s story is told backwards. While Anastasia’s part is told up until that fateful day in July 1918. It’s one of the most unusual writing styles I have come across. I will admit, at first I was confused, because it does jump around a lot, but in the end it really enhanced my reading experience. Also when you do read this book guys, reading the “Authors Note” is a must, but wait until you have finished the book first, or you will catch some spoilers.

I also learned a lot from this book, somethings I never had heard of previously. So of course I did research and wanted to see if it was an actual event, and yes, it was. Every character that is in this book is an actual person, and had history with the Romanov’s and Anna Anderson. This is a book that is going to stick with me forever, and one that I can hope to convince my kids to read.

I feel like I should warn you guys though, this is not a happy, feel good, warm your heart book. Actually it’s going to break your heart. There is some pretty intense stuff that happens within the pages, so reader be warned.



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