Book Review: What happened to Anastasia

  • Jun. 1, 2018 10:30 a.m.

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon

Fiction

Published: March 27/18. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Reviewed by Kirsten Lowe

It is one of history’s most infamous execution/assassination – Tsar Nicholas II and his family being led into that dark basement in the middle of the night by Bolsheviks soldiers, claiming that they were going to take a photograph. Instead, the soldiers told the Tsar and his family that they were to be condemned to death before opening fire. All were claimed to be dead, but that all changed with the appearance of a woman named Anna Anderson who claimed the impossible – that she herself was the surviving youngest daughter of the last Tsar of Russia.

Lawhon takes the reader on a unique journey using two story lines. While reading this book, readers will either enjoy or become annoyed by the storytelling. While Anastasia Romanov’s story is told chronologically, the story of Anna Anderson is told in reverse (thankfully the chapters labeled with the time era). Other than that, the storytelling was unique with a ton of historical facts mixed with fiction.

It is evident that Lawhon did a great deal of research prior to the writing of this book, and in the Authors Note, she discusses her research, why she combined some characters, her inspiration for the reverse storytelling and what inspired her to write this book. I normally skim over the Authors Note, but in this case it helped a lot and is definitely worth reading.

The question about what whether Anastasia Romanov survived the firing squad in the basement has fascinated people for decades. Due to the lack of DNA testing that was available at the time and the unknown location of the burial site helped many who stepped forward to claim that she was the sole survivor. Of course, through the passing of time, DNA testing has been conducted and grave site excavations have given a clear answer, but the chilling thought about what happened to the Romanov family that fateful night still lingers, and will continue to inspire further stories of the Tsar and his family.

Just Posted

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Jazz at the Lake begins

The 16 annual event began Friday and runs until Sunday in Sylvan Lake

Lunchtime tunes on Alexander Way

Final concert of the summer

Clearwater regional firefighters in B.C.

Crew operating west of Prince George

PHOTOS: Samson Cree Nation Pow Wow

The Samson Cree Nation hosted its annual Pow Wow, celebrating youth last weekend

WATCH: Feasting at Red Deer Ribfest this weekend

Ribfest runs until Sunday at Rotary Recreation Park

Death Valley worker has seen highest, lowest temperatures

LAS VEGAS — Thousands of tourists descend on Death Valley each summer… Continue reading

Banff’s Sunshine ski resort upset with proposed guidelines from Parks Canada

BANFF, Alta. — An internationally known ski resort in Banff National Park… Continue reading

Folk singer Ian Tyson cancels show due to ‘serious medical situation’

TORONTO — Canadian folk singer-songwriter Ian Tyson has cancelled his appearance at… Continue reading

Judge lifts publication ban, revealing details about Fredericton shooting

FREDERICTON — Newly released documents reveal how last week’s deadly attack unfolded… Continue reading

Canada’s tax system unfairly favours wealthy, poll of CRA auditors suggests

OTTAWA — A recent union-sponsored survey suggests an overwhelming majority of federal… Continue reading

Canadian soccer captain Christine Sinclair continues to lead fight against MS

TORONTO — Christine Sinclair continues to have an impact on and off… Continue reading

In Franklin’s anthems, women heard an empowering message

NEW YORK — Aretha Franklin never saw herself as a feminist heroine.… Continue reading

Happy birthday Boler: 100s of cute campers in Winnipeg for anniversary gathering

WINNIPEG — Angela Durand sits outside her camper which is decorated to… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month