Please join us in welcoming back to the Northshire, Ariel Lawhon, a rising star of historical suspense and a staff favorite! She unravels the extraordinary twists and turns in Anna Anderson’s fifty-year battle to be recognized as Anastasia Romanov. Is she the beloved daughter, revered icon, and Russian grand duchess or is she an imposter, liar, and 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. Refusing to explain her presence in the freezing water or even acknowledge her rescuers, 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 young woman claims to be the Russian grand duchess. As rumors begin to circulate through European society that the youngest Romanov daughter has survived the massacre at Ekaterinburg, old enemies and new threats are awakened. With a narrative that is equal parts The Talented Mr. Ripley and Memento, Lawhon wades into the most psychologically complex and emotionally compelling territory: 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 saga is every bit as moving and momentous as it is harrowing and twisted.
ARIEL LAWHON is a critically acclaimed author of historical fiction. She is the author of The Wife the Maid and the Mistress, Flight 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.
Although we all probably know the basic history of Anna Anderson and Anastasia, I found this book incredibly fascinating and hard to put down. The author chose to relate it in alternating chapters telling one person’s story chronologically and the other backwards through time, and only by the end do we know how it all started. Although a work of fiction, the author incorporates great historic details and draws you into the story with imagination. She brings to vivid life a mystery that mesmerized the world for much of the twentieth century, in an incredibly creative format. — Reviewed by Tambra Johnson Reap