Review: Anastasia’s Secret by Susanne Dunlap

“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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