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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Here is the tumultuous, heartrending, true story of the Romanovs—at once an intimate portrait of Russia's last royal family and a gripping account of its undoing. Using captivating photos and compelling first person accounts, award-winning author Candace Fleming (Amelia Lost; The Lincolns) deftly maneuvers between the imperial family’s extravagant lives and the plight of Russia's poor masses, making this an utterly mesmerizing read as well as a perfect resource for meeting Common Core standards.…

Overall Book Review:

I grew up hearing my mom talk about her interest in the Romanov family, and Anastasia in particular, about whom rumors fly that she has been spotted here and there throughout the world. Anastasia has become somewhat of a Bigfoot, or a Loch Ness Monster–some people swear she exists, others scoff at the thought. I remember my mom and grandma having long conversations about the history of the Romanov family and who they were descended from and whatnot. I never paid much attention, but when I saw this book in a catalog, and all of the rave reviews it was getting, I figured I didn’t have much to lose.

I read…and read…and read. I couldn’t put this book down. I’m not sure how much of this was due to Candace Fleming’s writing style, and how much to do with the story itself, but either way, this book is a good one. It tells not only the story of Anastasia and her family, but also touches on some of the peasants that lived in Russia at the time of the Romanov rule. I was stunned and horrified at the realization that the Romanov’s lived with such wealth and comfort, while people were literally starving to death on the streets. The most interesting part of the story was at the end, when the author chronicled the murders of the Romanov family.

Though this book doesn’t talk a whole lot about the supposed sightings of Anastasia or other members of her family after the assassinations, it does mention it, which was just enough to get my mind racing with what-ifs. This book may be marketed toward teens and young adults, but I passed this on to my mom to read. I think it can appeal to anyone ages 14 and up, although there are some brief scenes that may be frightening to a less mature reader.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  2 religious exclamations. 

Violence/Gore:  Assassination of multiple people briefly described (including women); dead bodies and bones are mentioned; scene of a death described briefly; dead bodies are mentioned to be burned; brief mention of starving citizens; secondhand reports of violence; quotes from journals of Russian soldiers who fought in WWI with some descriptions of violence, blood mentioned.

 Sex/Nudity:  None

Mature Subject Matter:

Death, war, illness, murder, politics.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Adults drink alcohol.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Books and reading have always been an important part of my life. When I was very young, my grandma was the library director at our local public library. Years later, after she had retired, I became a librarian at the same library and worked there for several years before taking a part-time job at a local coffee shop, which gives me more time to do what I love, to read and to review books! A few of my favorite authors are Aimee Bender, Diane Chamberlain, and Curtis Sittenfeld however, I will read almost any book I come across! In my spare time you can find me reading (of course), volunteering at a wildlife animal rehab, or hanging out with my two house rabbits.