Review: Anastasia’s Secret by Susanne Dunlap

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Title:Anastasia's Secret
Author:Dunlap, Susanne
Publisher:Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Pages:352

“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.

I started this book after reading first of Anastasia Romanov last year in Joy Preble’s Dreaming Anastasia. While Joy added a new element using the history but in a modern setting, Dunlap takes you back in a historical fiction novel. I was able to love Anastasia and all of her family immediately. I wanted to breeze through the pages, I had to physically pull myself out of the story and remind myself to slow down.

I am enamored and humbled by the story of this family and I felt like Dunlap has given me a secret knowledge of the family and their last days before the Bolshevik revolution. I have the same feeling at the end of this book as I did when I read Anne Frank’s Diary in the sixth grade. I felt that the 1900′s were a more modern time, Russia however despite the technologies available kept the ways of the 1800′s.

It had been said the princesses were spoiled but in fact they were raised not in decadence and richness. The girls had many duties and even had cold showers. The revolution in Russia is very comparable to the French revolution. Rumors and hunger seemed to be the start of the troubles.

The way the family was murdered was quite barbaric. I will not ruin that for you in case like me you are a bit fuzzy on the details of the Russian revolution.

This book is packaged as Young Adult but I didn’t feel as if I were reading YA. I think the hardest reviews to write are those of books you have dearly loved. This book will take a prized place in my favorite books list, I will be recommending it to teachers who are going over the Russian revolution. I cannot say enough that everyone should read this. I loved the writing style and the book was paced exactly right. The epilogue at the back explaining some more of the cruelties this family endured is also not to be missed.

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9 Responses so far

  1. Gravatar

    I only scanned just enough to see that you liked this one. I didn’t want to know too much because I’ve got a copy on my ‘read soon’ pile. I’m a sucker for all things Romanov and have been ever since I read Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie when I was in high school.

    I’ll be back to read your post more thoroughly after I read the book and do my own post.

    Knowing you liked it makes me want to read it sooner!

  2. Gravatar

    This sounds like a lovely book, I have just added it to my Amazon wishlist.

  3. Gravatar

    I love books about this period in Russian history, even though the story is very tragic and I usually try to avoid that kind of thing. It really is fascinating.

  4. Gravatar

    I enjoy reading books about Russian history. I think my husband’s love of history is rubbing off on me. I’m definitely checking this one out. Thanks for the review.

  5. Gravatar

    I enjoy reading books about royalty. They never seem to have happy endings and I always thought that was sad. I am so fascinated by this time in Russian history. I took a class in college about this time period.

    I want to read this novel. I know almost everything there is to know about their history, but I never tire of reading it. Thanks for the review.

  6. Gravatar

    Like SuziQ, I’ve got this one on my soon-to-read pile, so I only skimmed enough to see that you enjoyed it. I’m glad to know you loved it enough to keep it as a prized possession! Yay!

  7. Gravatar

    I definitely will be checking this series out!

  8. Gravatar

    I read this book and loved it. I was really surprised because it’s different from what I normally read but I really enjoyed it and hope everyone picks it up.

  9. Gravatar

    Great review :) I’m definitely going to get the book now. But what exactly do you mean by “This book is packaged as Young Adult but I didn’t feel as if I were reading YA.”? Do you mean you felt it was for a younger or older audience?

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