Monday 18 October 2010

Review: Anastasia's Secret by Susanne Dunlap

   Anastasia's Secret by Susanne Dunlap

Genre: Historical Romance
Age Group:Young Adult
Publisher:Penguin Australia
Release Date: 25th October, 2010
Format: Paperback , 348 pages
ISBN-13:  9780143203704

Cover love? Absolutely gorgeous and stunning - I love the light and creamy colour scheme. The text is perfectly placed. One thing though - Anastasia's hair is blonde at the top, and brown at the bottom, which I find strange.

The Romanov family have been ousted from the imperial palace by the Bolsheviks and exiled to Siberia.  Life as a privileged member of the Russian Royalty has come to a shattering end.
As the debate about their future rages within the ranks of the newly empowered, Anastasia, youngest daughter of the Tsar Nicholas, discovers love – and with it all the secrets and danger this brings into her strange new life.
Will the strength of that love be enough to save Anastasia from her tragic fate?  What happened in the last days of the Romanov family?  And did Russia's last princess live in love after all?
Inspired by the masteries that have long surrounded the last days of the Romanov family, Susanne Dunlap's new novel is a haunting vision of the life – and imagined love story – of Russia's last princess.

In a sentence: A gorgeous, intricately rich book that I devoured to the very last page.
compelling, fascinating,

Anastasia's Secret is a stunningly accurate recreation of the teenage years, also the final years, of the life of Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova, the last princess of Russia. The novel begins with a detailed Cast of Characters, highlighting the main players and providing some background information with a list of nicknames, a useful reference throughout the whole book.

Susanne Dunlap beautifully evoked an image of Russia's royalty. Anastasia's sincerity really came through to me, and I truly felt as if I could relate to her. Her intelligence and perception was a vital element to the story, and Dunlap's writing transformed into a clear running film in my head.

The accuracy to which Anastasia's Secret was reimagined epitomizes the one of the reasons I adore historical fiction. While what you are reading is partially a piece of fiction, it is also comprised mainly of truths, facts that the author has constructed his or her interpretation around. Susanne Dunlap gave a beautiful and expressive voice to Grand Duchess Anastasia.

The immersion of Sascha into the story was a perfect move. It gave Anastasia's life a focus, and provided the perfect plotline. This secret "other side" to Anastasie's life was a daring, dangerous adventure, and was a thrilling romance to read and experience.

Plotwise, the other members of the Romanov family were accurate to their memory, and I developed a lot of affection for Marie, Anastasia's closest sister.Their story was completely immersive to the very last page, and at the end, I found myself going back through the book and rereading passages I loved, over and over.

Susanne Dunlap chose to cut the story off at a point where I thought the most pivotal part of the book was about to occur (highlight to read: Anastasia's death). I felt that the inclusion of this part would have made for a flawless historical novel. The book hung precariously, and was ended by an afterword that was informative, but not quite what I wanted. I loved Susanne Dunlap's afterthoughts, though.

Reading Anastasia's story also gave me the interest to research her and find out more. I was stunned to find how much knowledge about the Russian family I had already learnt through Susanne Dunlap. Her thorough research, combined with the beautiful voice the story is told with, makes this book an invaluable and timeless read.