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Archive: Other Books > I Was Anastasia: A Novel - Ariel Lawhon - 3 Star

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

The Romanov family and their demise has long fascinated so many people. A royal family, forcefully removed from the throne, only to become prisoners, then suddenly executed and in a most bizarre way. Since the family's execution, there have been numerous books and movies inspired by conspiracy theories that Princess Anastasia survived the brutal killing of her family. Did Anastasia survive the brutal killing? How? What became of her? Is the woman in this book, claiming she is Anastasia, truly the real princess? It sounds like a movie premise, which it actually has been several times over. In her novel, I Was Anastasia, Ariel Lawhon writes her own the mystery of who really was the true Anastasia.

The biggest issue I had with this book was the writing structure. It took me awhile to get oriented enough to the writing style, characters, and storyline to finally be able to enjoy it. I can love and understand a story that begins at the end and works its way forward, and I enjoy non-linear timelines, but this book seemed to zig zag in time too often. If felt disordered and actually left me confused far too many times, as though I was taking three steps forward then two steps back, then four steps forward and six steps back. I often had to go back a few chapters to get my bearings. Of course, this left me frustrated, and I almost quit this book.

In spite of this author's writing style I became completely absorbed in the story. She is a good writer with a knack for clever phrases, solid characterization and suspense building. Historically, the facts were correct, and this made the story seem so very real. Lawhon has the ability to absorb the reader completely in her storytelling but her writing style in this book led me to give it a three star. I completely loved the story but I did not like the fragmentation of the plot as it left me trying to keep up and make sure I knew where we were at in every section and chapter. Because of the storytelling, I will pull another of Lawhon's books from the library shelf, but before I commit, I will skim through the pages to make sure her timeline is a little more linear.


message 2: by Amy (new)

Amy | 9352 comments Nice review! It feels like this book was all over the map in terms of reviews. It’s another one that I put on and off the TPR. It’s an interesting premise, that much is been made over whether or not Anastasia survived. I know there’s been a lot of fiction works, but wondering if you think she did? I also loved your personal letter and will respond soon.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Her historical facts were perfect, so many of the characters a part of the real history. The way she added in suspense only added to the anticipation but the structure of this book was just too much. As a writer she is so good that I would love to read another book from her. But this one aspect bothered me so much I will have to make sure she doesn’t use this structure in other books.


message 4: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2098 comments On my TBR.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Jason wrote: "On my TBR."

You may love it for the historical facts, which she researched and implemented very well.


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