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The Diamond Secret: A Retelling of "Anastasia" (Once Upon a Time)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  4,116 Ratings  ·  294 Reviews
"Once Upon a Time" is Timeless

Nadya is a mischievous kitchen girl in a Russian tavern. Having nearly drowned in the Iset River during the turmoil of the Revolution, she has no memory of her past and longs for the life she cannot remember.

Then two young men arrive at the tavern and announce that Nadya's long-lost grandmother has sent them to find her. Yearning for family an
Kindle Edition, 209 pages
Published June 2nd 2009 by Simon Pulse (first published January 25th 2009)
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Mar 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fantasy, fairytale
Review updated -

For good and bad, this book reminded me a lot of the movie Anastasia. Little details were different, and the magic was removed, but it was still extremely similar and followed the same basic plot. But, I loved that movie. It’s probably still one of my all time favorites, and this book appealed to me for the same reasons I loved the movie. So, I still enjoyed the book a lot despite strong similarities (I wouldn’t call it a knock-off/rip-off, but I would understand if someone else
T.M. Carper
I have always been fasinated by the story of Anastasia, which is the only reason I picked up this book--some of the "Once Upon a Time" novels are really awful, and this is coming from someone who loves fairy tales--and I was disappointed.

Picture the 1990s animated movie of Anastasia--now make Anastasia 17/18, like she was in real life at the House of Special Purpose, call her Nadya instead of Anya, and renamed the two con men, make the younger man a guard at the House, who witnessed the murders,
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 25, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I love me a good alternate history story and fairytale retellings but this one? Not so much.

The first thing that jumped out to me was the writing. It was clunky, stiff, with poor to awkward word choices. The dialogue seemed unnatural and didn’t flow at all. It felt to “modern” to be honest to fit in with the time period, not to mention there were instances where I had to raise my eyebrow in amusement because some of the things the character said were so childish, I couldn’t help but go “pfft”.

Minni Mouse
"Do you know what 'Anastasia' means?"
"No. Tell me," Nadya replied.
"It means 'breaker of chains'."

GTFO -- there's only one Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains and that's Daenerys Stormborn.

Since this could be a literary accompaniment to the 1997 animated movie, you'll probably enjoy if you want to re-live the movie.

1) Insta-love with zero chemistry and zero romantic development. And zero brains.

2) Barely developed characters and a flat, monotonous story.

3) Nadya trying to ass
Lynn Spencer
C-, so 2.5 stars I've read and enjoyed a few books in the Once Upon a Time series of fairytale retellings, but not so much this one. My first warning should have been the fact that a "retelling of Anastasia" was being sold as a fairytale. The story of what happened to Tsar Nicholas II and his family is quite well-known (spoiler: There's not an HEA) and also well-known is the fact that numerous imposters came forward over the years claiming to be Anastasia, the Tsar's youngest daughter.

This story
Liya [Semi-Hiatus - deleting and remaking soon]
How about NO. Diamonds are cliche. What kind of title is that?

Anastasia was actually not a fairy tale.

[If you can't tell, the Romanovs are rolling in their graves.]

A copy

of a more inaccurate copy

of a romanticised copy

of an impostor

to the real thing

I didn't actually read it because my library doesn't have it, but I've read the bad reviews, not to mention the way the sampler reads.
"The White Russian Army is coming to save us, just as father said they would," Olga told her, giddy with excitement.

Lucy March
One of Suzanne Weyn's better books, but doesn't hold a candle to the 1990s Don Bluth flim.

I posted a full audio review in two parts of this book on youtube under the username "lovetolovefairytales" so I won't go into too much detail here.

Sort of recommend, but not with any vigor or conviction.
Jul 09, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fairy-tales
I have really enjoyed this series of books thus far. For the most part they are engaging and original, albeit a little corny with writing that is less than stellar. But, the unique view of these fairy tales and the fresh voice of many of our heroines eclipses the oft shallow writing.

Now, we look into The Diamond Secret. This is the worst of the Once Upon a Time series I have read and, at this point, I believe I have read all that have so far been published. The Diamond Secret explores the story
This book is part of the 2015 Reading Challange : A book with bad reviews.

For those of you who don't know, I am OBSESSED with the 1997 20th Century Fox animated film Anastasia, which is a fun yet sophisticated take on the "Anastasia Romanova escaped her execution and is alive theory" with the hottest animated character ever and my first and still one my favorite OTPs. (Idk why I just said that. If you haven't watched this film drop everything right now and go watch it.)

Anyhoo, The Once Upon a Ti
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I'm not really sure what to say about this book. It was, at best, okay. There was nothing wrong with the book, necessarily, but there was nothing utterly fantastic about it, either. Truth be told, I forgot the book about ten minutes after I put it down, and I couldn't tell if anything I do seem to vaguely recall was in the book or if I'm remembering the cartoon "Anastasia" movie.

There are obviously many similarities between "Anastasia" and "The Diamond Secret." (Note to whomever is in charge of
Lady Knight
I've always loved stories about Annastasia and was really excited to learn that the "Once Upon a Time..." series had added her tale to the collection. Granted it is more of an urban legend than a fairytale, but I hoped that the outcome would be good. Suzanne Weyn did a good job with the story. I wasn't blown away, but I wasn't disappointed. She basically reitterated the tale we all know, there was no 'surprise' elements. Nontheless, a good read.

Nadya has worked in a tavern ever since she was thr
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of fairytales retold, reimagined, or twisted on it's side
2.5 stars.

A retelling of "Anastasia" which, while not a fairytale, is a great story. I absolutely love the Fox Animation movie done in the 90's and The Diamond Secret: A Retelling of "Anastasia"is a complete knock off of "Anastasia" Sure, names are changed and events play out slightly differently and the author threw in an extra plot point and some thing are more historically accurate(which was nice)but it's basically a copy in book form. Come on, really? Con men who find a girl to play Anastas
Laura Bang
I am slightly addicted to this Once Upon A Time series, even though they are never particularly remarkable. In general, the stories are too rushed, with not enough character development, and that's true again in this one. Although there is no curse or other magic, this retelling of the story of Anastasia is very similar to the 1997 animated movie (which I love). There were many scenes that echoed very closely scenes from the movie, but with less spark and vivacity than the movie's characters.

Elizabeth ♛Smart Girls Love Trashy Books♛

This book is supposed to be a retelling of the original 1950's Anastasia movie, and somehow I'm the only person who knows that. And it shows. The sheer fact of doing a story based on a real-life person for a series on fairy-tale retellings sounds strange, but it is based on the fact she survived, which is fantasy anyway so I'll let it pass.

While there's technically not anything offensive in this book, it was just so boring. I didn't really relate to any of the characters, a
Oct 13, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
(Genre:Teen Fiction/fantasy) This is an installment in the "Once Upon a Time" series (where different authors create retellings of famous fairy tales). It is the story of the Russian royal/princess Anastasia and the legend that she somehow survived the slaughter of her family and lived under an alias. It was an okay read, but I felt that the character (and relationship) development was lacking. I never connected with Ivan and felt a limited attachment/understanding of Nadya. This author has writ ...more
Miss Clark
Mar 03, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
This installment in the "Once Upon A Time" series is a retelling of the fate of Anastasia Romanov, the last Grand Duchess of Imperial Russia. It draws heavily on the plot of Fox's animated film "Anastasia." Despite the lack of inventiveness or originality, it was an enjoyable, quick read. Bit lackluster, though, and it does not truly belong in the class of fairytales. Given the wealth of fairytales available, especially those that have not been retold a thousand times like Cinderella and Beauty ...more
Aug 10, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-books-read
This book is part of a series that retells modern fairy tales - a great concept. This having been my first taste of the series, I really wish I could say the execution was as well done as the planning. This book tells the story of Nadya, who is found working in a tavern by two con-artists who want to make her look like the real Anastasia Romonov. Problem is, she starts remembering things they never told her. Sound familiar? Yeah....just watch the animated movie, and save your time. I, on the oth ...more
Have you seen the movie "Anastasia" from the '90's? Then you've essentially read this book... >_>

It was a quick read, predictable. I think the inclusion of Rasputin's right-hand man was over too quickly. My favorite scenes come later in the book with Sergei's friend and meeting the Empress. The coincidence about Sergei was just a little too much. I'm glad I was able to borrow this book from the library, instead of purchasing it.
Jun 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book, but not recommend for too young a reader due to the graphic nature of the assassination of the Romanov family. I loved how the author wove in facts from Anastasia's real life and also from the actual rumors circulating after her death. This was a nice mix of fact and fantasy as it portrays an example of what could have happened if Anastasia had survived the massacre of her family.
Sandi Dickey
Cute book, quick read. I liked the characters (especially the girl) and enjoyed the ending the author gave each of them. There was enough real history in it that I would have liked the book to follow through with an actually-possible scenario, but it was still good.
Marcia McClure
Jul 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another installment in the "Once Upon a Time..." series...and I love it! I just finished this retelling of "Anastasia" and it was great! If you're liking these "Once Upon a Times..." you'll love this one!
♥iDevourBooks♥ ☆Sonic~Obsessed☆
Oh my gosh, this book was AMAZING!!!!! I was SOOOO excited to read this book! And it was just A.MAZE.ING! 4.5 STARS
Another entry in the Once Upon A Time Series. This one was a plausible alternate ending for the Annastasia myth.
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a light, quick read. I have seen the Anastasia movie and read the Royal Diaries book about her and just generally have been interested in her story.

The Diamond Secret is a nice spin on the story. Some claim too much similarity to the movie and I can see it too, but biblical the movie so I don't mind.

It's not really a fairy tale, but I enjoy retellings of old stories and this one is no exception. A huge plus for this book is that there is no bad language or sex! I also really appreciat
Abby Gallier
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, series-books, 5-8
This book is a unique member of the series because the story of Anastasia isn't a fairy tale, its something that actually happened and has been told over and over. When two con men tell a servant girl that she might be the long lost grand duchess, why wouldn't she believe them? This book is all about one girl's path from rags to riches, with plenty of twists and turns along the way. It different from any version of the story that I have ever heard, but that's why I like it. I definitely was not ...more
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kitty Graves
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful and it was something that I wish could be true.
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful retelling of Anastasia!
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Not happy with this cover! 19 67 May 20, 2017 12:00PM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Nov 20, 2014 10:59AM  
¿Por qué no una traducción al Español? 1 2 Oct 22, 2014 12:43PM  
Translation into Spanish, why not? 1 1 Jul 08, 2014 08:21AM  
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Suzanne Weyn grew up in Williston Park, Long Island, New York. She has three sisters and a brother. As a girl she was very interested in theater and in reading. Louisa May Alcott was her favorite author, but she also read every Sherlock Holmes story. Suzanne lived pretty close to the ocean and going to Jones Beach was one of her favorite activities Even today, if she goes too long without seeing t ...more
More about Suzanne Weyn...

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Once Upon a Time (1 - 10 of 19 books)
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“If these were indications of new love, as Sergei expected they were, then he was not surprised. All that scraping and arguing, the teasing and playful antagonism, could only mean on thing. It was a sure sign of attraction.” 8 likes
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