> Bless Their Hearts Mom: History Corner / Book Review: I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon
Thursday, February 1, 2018

History Corner / Book Review: I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this ebook free of charge,from Doubdleday Publishing via Edelweiss, for blog review purposes on this blog. No compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it,  all opinions are my own.

“Compelling and utterly fascinating…drifts far into the mysterious lives of Anastasia Romanov and Anna Anderson.”—Lisa Wingate, author of Before We Were Yours

i was anatasia cover


In 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, a beloved daughter and revered icon, or is she an imposter, 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 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. With a brilliantly crafted dual narrative structure, Lawhon wades into the most psychologically complex and emotionally compelling territory yet: 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 story is every bit as moving and momentous as it is harrowing and twisted.


If you've been a long time reader of this blog, you know that my mother was a history major and this case was the mystery of mysteries to her. The tale had everything that a fairy tale needs to caputure our imagination, with the exception of a true happy ending. So much so that she oriinally wanted to name me Anastasia! So when I heard about this novel, I knew I had to read it!

Ariel does an excellent job in taking historical facts and fleshing them out into a story, based on later medical evidence, so that the reader can see more clearly why suspicion was there from the beginning, and why Anna Anderson was never acknowledged by the royal family as truly Anastasia. It is a roller coaster of a tale, that leads to many late night readings, and rapid page turnings, especially as Anna tells the story from when she 'found' in Germany on. There is but one conclusion the reader can really make, based on the evidence provided. And it is one that while the reader might not like, is clearly evident. We never like the end of fairy tales without happy endings,do we?  Ariel is an excellent story teller, and if you love historical fiction, this book needs to be on your must read list when it comes out later this month!

About the Author:

ARIEL LAWHON is a critically acclaimed author of historical fiction. She is the author of The Wife the Maid and the MistressFlight of Dreams, and I Was Anastasia. Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, and Book of the Month Club selections. She is the co-founder of SheReads.org and lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, four sons, black Lab, and a deranged Siamese cat. Both pets are, thankfully, girls.

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