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I Was Anastasia - Sept > Part 3 (ch 23-end)

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message 1: by Krista (new)

Krista (booksandjams) | 746 comments Mod
What are your final thoughts about the pacing, the plot, characters, writing style? What will you rate this book?


message 2: by Berna (new)

Berna | 64 comments I rated this book 4 stars.

I thought the book had a structure that works very well. We folllow Anastasia's story from forwards and Anna's story backwards. This structure helps us to wonder if Anna is telling the truth until the very end of the book. I kind of knew about Anna Anderson but I did not know if the author would take initative and make her Anastasia :)

Although both timelines were described very well, I found Anastasia's story much more moving and really felt sorry for the young girl who has no idea why this happened to her and her family who she loves very much.As you can guess, Anastasia and her sisters were the characters that I felt very deeply about.

I also really enjoyed reading Author's Note at the very end. I liked her writing style and I will read more books from the author.


message 3: by Debbi (new)

Debbi Faust | 164 comments Oh my gosh! This book captivated me. I knew very little about the Romanov's. I found myself researching everything I could and even checking out another book about the Romanov family from the library.

At times I wondered, even though I knew better, if Anna was really Anastasia. The writer did an amazing job of keeping you guessing.

I don't cry when reading books but this one almost had me crying. The story about the children was heart breaking. And when the guard through the dog out the train window I was furious.

Needless, to say I gave this one 5 stars! Thanks, Krista, for a great September choice.


message 4: by Lu (new)

Lu (librogeek) | 7 comments I'm sure I'll be in the minority here, but I didn't love it. I said in a much earlier post that I found the storytelling to be clunky and now that I've finished the book, that opinion still stands. I dunno, I just never connected with it. That said, it's something I had been wanting to read because I'm interested in the Romanovs, so I'm happy to have read it! :-)

Thanks for hosting the readalong!


message 5: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Herschberger | 2 comments This book took me a little while to get into, in part because of the way the author structured the narrative with Anastasia's story moving forward and Anna's story going backwards. In the Author's Note she says that writing in this style was a little like juggling chainsaws that are on fire while you're blindfolded! So I guess it makes sense that reading it felt a little disjointed in the beginning and the writing can seem clunky. However, as the story lines got closer and closer to converging, I got drawn into the story and it felt like I read faster and faster! I wasn't that familiar with the story, especially Anna's, so that made it very interesting for me and I think I read the second half of the book in one day. I gave it four stars.


message 6: by Berna (new)

Berna | 64 comments Rachel wrote: "This book took me a little while to get into, in part because of the way the author structured the narrative with Anastasia's story moving forward and Anna's story going backwards. In the Author's ..."
It looks like we had a very similiar reading experience :)


message 7: by Kate (new)

Kate | 39 comments I regret to say this is my lowest-rated book of 2019 so far. I know many people have loved it. I really wanted to like this book, but did not. I remained curious to the end as to how the stories of Anastasia and Anna Anderson would tie together, but found the conclusion more gruesome than interesting. The Author's Note did shed some light on the extensive research that went into the novel, including the author's decision to read Anna Anderson's biography in the novel, hence why she chose to tell Anna's story from beginning to end. At the beginning of the summer, I read a fantastic novel about the Romanovs focused on Tatiana, and was looking forward to an equally interesting and compelling story. Unfortunately, this was not it. Then I desperately wanted to give this book three stars, but I can't justify that in the end. I enjoyed the readalong but not the book. 2 stars for me.


message 8: by Berna (new)

Berna | 64 comments Kate wrote: "I regret to say this is my lowest-rated book of 2019 so far. I know many people have loved it. I really wanted to like this book, but did not. I remained curious to the end as to how the stories of..."
I am very interested. What was the name of the book about Tatiana?


message 9: by Kate (new)

Kate | 39 comments Hi, Berna I just realized I forgot to mention the title of that book. It is The Secret Wife by Gill Paul. To me it is a much more accessible and enjoyable read than the book we just finished,


message 10: by Krista (new)

Krista (booksandjams) | 746 comments Mod
Well, I just finished. I read the whole second half between yesterday and this morning. I went into it knowing nothing about Anna Anderson and next to nothing about the Romanov family. I knew they were executed, but that's about it. So I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. I went through most of the book thinking Anna was Anastasia. Of course that couldn't be true, but like Lawhon says in the Author's Note I wanted it to be true so I believed it all! haha. There was one point where Anna's stretch marks are mentioned and that was my first clue that I was wrong.

Overall I'm going to give it four stars. I can't do five because it did take me a while to adjust to the non-linear timeline. It's still not my favorite structure at all, but I can see the purpose of it here. It did keep me from connecting to either of the main characters and I had to really focus to understand what was going on at the beginning. However, once I was about 1/2 way through I got into the flow of it and then couldn't stop til the end. Quite a fun (and sad, infuriating, and emotional) ride.

Thanks for reading with me this month!


message 11: by Berna (new)

Berna | 64 comments Kate wrote: "Hi, Berna I just realized I forgot to mention the title of that book. It is The Secret Wife by Gill Paul. To me it is a much more accessible and enjoyable read than the book we just finished,"
Thanks, I will definitely try it ;)


message 12: by Kate (new)

Kate | 39 comments Thanks for hosting the read-along, Krista. Looking forward to next month!


message 13: by Barbara (new)

Barbara I haven't read this book but I don't normally read historical fiction because you never know what is fact what is fancy and what the author chose to embellish or not include or what their motives are.

I saw Anna Anderson because she lived near the town I live in and my mom knew her 'husband' Mr. Monahan. I remember she was riding in a light colored, old, station wagon, Monahan (Manahan?) was driving, and the car was full from up against the back seat to the rear window and to the ceiling of the car of empty plastic milk jugs. Why I dunno.

Whoever has her house now has done a really good job fixing it up and it looks quite nice.

I think she was mentally ill and a hoarder. I remember reading where she slept on a matress on the floor in that house and there was dog shit everywhere.

Monahan was nuts but mom said he could tell a great story. He used to come into the resteraunt where she worked.


message 14: by Debbi (new)

Debbi Faust | 164 comments Thanks for sharing. Very interesting.


message 15: by Candi (new)

Candi (candilovesbooks) Wow. It's a small world after all.


message 16: by Candi (new)

Candi (candilovesbooks) I am still reading Anastasia. I don't have a problem with the writing style nor breaking up the timeline. So far, it is interesting.


message 17: by Terri (new)

Terri  (tee_reads) | 57 comments Berna wrote: "Kate wrote: "Hi, Berna I just realized I forgot to mention the title of that book. It is The Secret Wife by Gill Paul. To me it is a much more accessible and enjoyable read than the book we just fi..."

Gil Paul also has a new book, The Lost Daughter, that focuses on Mariana.


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