I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon | Review

This review is spoiler-free! (Somehow…)

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Received from Netgalley for review. All opinions are my own.

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon
Genres: Historical Fiction
Release Date: February 20th 2018 by Doubleday
Format: Kindle, 240 pages
Rating: ★★★★★
Find it here: Goodreads || Book Depository

This was a solid 4-star book for me … until that very last bit after the final chapter, and my entire experience was turned on its head. I was so startled and impressed by what happened (which I will not explain because that is the biggest spoiler of the whole damn book), I needed to bump it from a 4-star in my head to a full-on 5 stars, because holy heck does it deserve them. I was absolutely shooketh.

So, as you may already know from the blurb, this story is about both Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, or Anastasia Romanov, and the woman who tried to make the world believe she was her, Anna Anderson. The story is told in alternating perspectives, from first person in a progressing timeline with Anastasia to third person in a regressing timeline with Anna. So, as you’re going farther forward into Anastasia’s story, building up to her supposed execution, you’re working backwards with Anna, learning about her story and where she came from in a reverse order.

Unique? Absolutely. Effective? Unbelievably. It was because of this that I ended up falling right into the author’s trap, despite knowing what really happens.

As confusing as it was to get through in the beginning (because I am absolutely terrible when it comes to dates, and they only bewilder me), I started really appreciating the way everything was unfolding the further I got into the plots and the more I saw correlating between the two of them. It’s an absolutely brilliant method for the story we’re given, especially considering the whole scandal surrounding Anna’s attempts to claim Anastasia’s identity, and honestly I don’t think any other format would have done the story justice without losing the whole effect at the very end.

I know I keep mentioning the end, but you don’t understand unless you’ve read it. Despite everything I know about Anastasia and everything surrounding her, I was still shook by what the author managed to do to me with her story. That very last line? That’ll live on with me probably forever.

I went into this one wondering how the story was going to go, what with DNA results proving that Anna Anderson was not Anastasia Romanov, since she was half of the story and the book is titled I Was Anastasia. I was not prepared for what I was given, and I did not truly appreciate the story until I was finished. Literally. Again, that last line, it swapped everything onto it’s head. Am I being dramatic? Hell yes I am, but I rarely feel that strong of shock from being manipulated by the author’s words, because how. How did she do that?

It’s one of those books you can reread, but it’ll never, never, have the same effect it did the first time you read it. Man. Good book.

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3 thoughts on “I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon | Review

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