I Was Anastasia

Doubleday. Mar. 2018. 352p. ISBN 9780385541695. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385541701. F
Grand Duchess Anastasia, daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, has 354 entries in WorldCat; hers is a familiar story told in many forms. With nearly a century of doubts and imposters to build on, Lawhon (Flight of Dreams) mimics DNA's twisting strands by telling two tales, one of the real Anastasia, the other of Anna Anderson, who claimed to have survived the 1918 execution of the Tsar and his family. Until clear DNA evidence emerged in 2007 that proved Anastasia died with her family, Anna had the most credible claim on the Romanov title and bank accounts. Can we still even want to believe that Anastasia somehow survived? As a historical fiction novelist, Lawhon adjusts the facts to fit her dual narratives. Writing as "an enthusiast, not an expert," the author relies on meaningful items from letters and other records to add convincing details.
VERDICT If you want to relive the legend of Anastasia, this engrossing tale will not disappoint. Readable, masterful, and grisly, it entices belief. [See Prepub Alert, 10/9/17.]
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