My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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.
You might have heard about Anna Anderson and her claim (to fame) to be Anastasia Romanov. But, if you haven't, then I suggest you google her and read up on her life. Anna Anderson's life was very interesting and it has btw been made into a movie with Ingrid Bergman and a miniseries with Amy Irving. I've seen both since I find the Romanov's a captivated subject.
I was curious to see how of Ariel Lawhon would construct the story since much has happened since Anna Anderson died in 1984. Now I take for granted that you know all about that, but if you don't know, then I will spoil the story a bit. Or rather I will reveal some truth's that may or may not be included in this book. So, read on if you dare!
Since Anna Anderson died in 1984 has two things happened, for one thing, has DNA showed that she was not Anastasia, and also the graves of the Romanov's family has been found with the bones of ALL the children. So, how do you write a book when this is well-known? Easy, you make the both Anna and Anastasia's stories so believable that you want it to be true.
All through the book does Anastasia's story interlopes with Anna's. We get to follow Anastasia through the years in captivity while Anna's story we get from the end unto the beginning. And, Anna's chapters. It's like reading a book backward. But, it works. It's very different, but it works so well. It's like two cars moving towards each other and you know they will crash, but you can't stop them!
I Was Anastasia is a great book. Reading the author's note at the end, where she wrote about wanting to believe that the story would be true made me realize that she made me want to believe that it's true that Anna was Anastasia. Because deep down we all want the story to have a happy ending...
I want to thank Doubleday Books for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!