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Product Description

New York Times Bestseller

"Compelling and utterly fascinating." —Lisa Wingate, author of Before We Were Yours

An enthralling feat of historical suspense that unravels the extraordinary twists and turns in Anna Anderson''s fifty-year battle to be recognized as Anastasia Romanov. Is she the Russian Grand Duchess or the thief of another woman''s legacy?


Countless others have rendered their verdict. Now it is your turn.

Russia, July 17, 1918: Under direct orders from Vladimir Lenin, Bolshevik secret police force Anastasia Romanov, along with the entire imperial family, into a damp basement in Siberia, where they face a merciless firing squad. None survive. At least that is what the executioners have always claimed.

Germany, February 17, 1920: A young woman bearing an uncanny resemblance to Anastasia Romanov is pulled shivering and senseless from a canal. Refusing to explain her presence in the freezing water or even acknowledge her rescuers, she is taken to the hospital where an examination reveals that her body is riddled with countless horrific scars. When she finally does speak, this frightened, mysterious young woman claims to be the Russian grand duchess.     
As rumors begin to circulate through European society that the youngest Romanov daughter has survived the massacre at Ekaterinburg, old enemies and new threats are awakened. The question of who Anna Anderson is and what actually happened to Anastasia Romanov spans fifty years and touches three continents. This thrilling saga is every bit as moving and momentous as it is harrowing and twisted.

Review

"[Lawhon''s] effortless, eloquent prose transports the reader via a dramatic, suspenseful and satisfying work of historical fiction...Lawhon brilliantly employs an inventive and non-linear dual narrative to tell the tale of how Anastasia would become Anna Anderson, or, perhaps, how Anna became Anastasia....In the end, what Lawhon does so convincingly is shake up our notion of identity. And not just that of Anastasia and Anna. Are we who we say we are, or who others believe us to be? It''s a question that lingers long after the final page."
—USA Today

"I Was Anastasia
is a wild train trip through time. The doors swish open here, then there, scenes sometimes racing by, sometimes drifting far into the mysterious lives of Anastasia Romanov and Anna Anderson. Every view is tantalizing, surprising, compelling, and utterly fascinating. Ariel Lawhon unfolds a complicated story with skill, style, and compassion."
—Lisa Wingate, New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours

"A young Tsarina traveling towards tragedy and an aging Grand Duchess penniless and betrayed. Twin stories so gripping you will believe history itself can be rewritten. Told with masterful intensity and moments of true human compassion."
—Helen Simonson, New York Times bestselling author of The Summer Before the War

"Ariel Lawhon is a masterful storyteller; I Was Anastasia is a wild ride, extravagant with its vivid sensory experiences and page turning suspense. Inspired by history, and infused with imagination and intrigue, this novel satisfies with every twist and turn. I was both captivated and enchanted; I will carry this story—from its beguiling opening to its catch-my-breath ending —  in my heart and imagination for a long, long while."
—Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of Driftwood Summer and The Bookshop at Water''s End

"The fate of the Grand Duchess Anastasia, youngest daughter of the last Tsar, is an old mystery that never gets old. In the hands of Ariel Lawhon, it springs to life again, challenging everything we believe about what we remember and who we are. Was Anna Anderson really the only survivor of the Romanovs or was she a persistent fraud? Somehow, Lawhon, a masterly writer, not only leads her readers to ponder this riddle, but to care about it as well. This is a deft and deeply moving saga."
—Jacquelyn Mitchard, New York Times bestselling author of The Deep End of the Ocean

"I don’t know what’s most impressive about I Was Anastasia: the wildly inventive structure, the ferocious heroine (or is it two?), or the dark, twisted questions it raises about the stories we tell—both to others and to ourselves. Ariel Lawhon has written a gorgeous, haunting puzzle of a book that will grip you until the final page."
—Karen Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of Sin in the Second City and Liar Temptress Soldier Spy 

About the Author

ARIEL LAWHON is a critically acclaimed author of historical fiction. She is the author of The Wife the Maid and the Mistress, Flight of Dreams, and I Was Anastasia. Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, and Book of the Month Club selections. She is the co-founder of SheReads.org and lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, four sons, black Lab, and a deranged Siamese cat. Both pets are, thankfully, girls.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1.
ANNA
Folie à Deux
1970 & 1968
 
 
Charlottesville, Virginia, February 17, 1970
 
Fifty years ago tonight Anna threw herself off a bridge in Berlin. It wasn’t her first brush with death, or even the most violent, but it was the only one that came at her hands. Anna’s husband does not know this, however. She watches him, watching her, and she knows he only sees a fragile old woman who has waited too long for vindication. He sees the carefully cultivated image she presents to the world: a crown of thinning, silver hair and tired blue eyes. Age and confusion and the gentle aura of. This could not be further from the truth. She has been many things through the years but—even at seventy-four—helpless is not one of them. At the moment, however, Anna is simply impatient. She sits in this living room, two thousand miles from her past, waiting for a verdict.
           
Jack is like a frightened rabbit, all nerves and tension. He springs from his chair and begins to pace through the cluttered den.  “Why haven’t they called? They should have called by now.”
           
“I’m sure they read the verdict hours ago,” Anna says, leaning her head against the fold of her wingback chair and closing her eyes.
           
Whatever news awaits them is not good but Anna does not have the heart to tell him this. Jack is so hopeful. He’s already written the press release and taken a polaroid so he can bring both to The Daily Progress first thing in the morning. Jack spoke with the editor this afternoon, suggesting they reserve a front-page spot for the story. He’s hoping for something above the fold. He’s hoping for exclamation points.

Even though Jack hasn’t admitted it, Anna knows that he is looking forward to reporters showing up again. They haven’t had any in months and she suspects he’s gotten lonely with only her and the animals for company. She feels a bit sad for him, being saddled with her like this. But there was no other way. Gleb insisted on it, and in all the years she knew him, Gleb Botkin remained her truest friend, her staunchest champion. He’s been dead two years now. Another loss in an unending string of losses. And Jack is kind to her—just as Gleb promised—and beggars can’t be choosers anyway. Anna reminds herself of this daily.
           
The phone rings. Three startling metallic alarms and then Jack snatches it from the cradle.
           
“Manahan residence.” A pause, and then, “yes, she’s here. Hold on a moment.” The cord won’t stretch across the room so Jack lays it on the sideboard. He grins wildly. “It’s from Germany.”
           
“Who?”
           
“The Prince.” He beams, then clarifies—there have been a number of princes in her life. “Frederick.”
           
Anna feels a wild stab of anger at the name. She hasn’t forgotten what Frederick did, hasn’t forgotten the burn pile behind her cottage at the edge of the Black Forest. All those charred little bones. If the news had come from anyone else she would take the call. “I don’t want to speak with him.”
           
“But—”
           
“He knows why.”
           
“I really think it’s time you—”
           
Anna holds her hand up, palm out, a firm, final sort of motion. “Take a message.”
           
Jack pouts but doesn’t protest. He knows that arguing is futile. Anna does not change her mind. Nor does she forgive. He picks up the receiver again. “I’m sorry. She doesn’t want to speak right now. Why don’t you give me the news?”
           
And then she watches Jack’s countenance fall by tiny, heartbreaking increments. First his smile. Then his lifted, expectant brows. His right arm drops to his side, deflated. “I don’t understand,” he says, finally, then clears his throat as though he’s swallowed a cobweb.
           
“Write it down,” Anna instructs. “Word for word.” She doesn’t want to interpret the verdict through his anger once he hangs up. Anna wants to know exactly what the appeals court has to say. Jack is too emotional and prone to exaggeration. He needs to transcribe it or vital bits of information will be lost the moment he hangs up. Gleb wouldn’t need this instruction. He would know what to do. He would know what questions to ask. But Gleb is no longer here and, once again this reality leaves her feeling adrift.
           
“Let me write this down,” Jack says, like it’s his idea. She watches him shuffle through piles of paper on the cluttered sideboard, looking for a notebook with blank pages. Finding none, he grabs an envelope and turns it over. “Go ahead. I’m ready.”
           
A decade ago Anna’s lawyer told her this lawsuit was the longest running case in German history. This appeal has stretched it into something worse, something interminable. And there stands Jack, writing the footnote to her quest on the back of their electric bill in his tidy, ever-legible script. “How do you spell that?” he asks at one point, holding the phone with one hand and recording the verdict with the other. He doesn’t rush or scribble but rather pens each word with painstaking precision, occasionally asking Frederick to repeat himself.
           
Jack and Anna don’t have many friends. They haven’t been married long, only two years, and theirs is a relationship based on convenience and necessity, not romance. They are old and eccentric and not fit for polite society in this quaint college town. But a handful of people—mostly former professors at the University of Virginia, like Jack—are due to arrive shortly. Anna doesn’t want to know how he convinced them to come. It would have been awkward before. It will be excruciating now. Anna decides there won’t be a party tonight. She doesn’t have the heart to entertain strangers this evening.
           
But Jack, in all his eagerness, has catered for a celebration. Their small den is littered with trays of fruit and sandwiches. Deviled eggs and cheese platters. Tiny brined pickles and cocktail sausages skewered with toothpicks. He even bought three bottles of champagne and they sit in a bowl of ice, unopened beneath the string of Christmas lights he’s stapled to the ceiling. Anna stares at the bottles with suspicion. She hasn’t touched the stuff in almost four decades. The last time Anna drank champagne she ended up naked on a rooftop in New York City.
The entire setting is tacky and festive—just like her husband. Jack bought a rhinestone tiara from the costume shop near the college campus just for the occasion. It sits on a gaudy red velvet pillow next to the champagne. He’s been dying to crown her since they met and only today, only in the hopes of a positive verdict, has she humored him. But that hope is gone now. Snuffed out in a German courtroom on the other side of the world.
           
“Thank you,” he finally says, and then lower, almost a whisper, “I will. I’m sorry. You know how it can be with her. I’m sure she’ll speak with you next time. Goodbye.”
           
When he turns back to Anna, Jack has the envelope pressed to his chest. He doesn’t speak.
           
“We need to call our guests and tell them the party’s cancelled.”
           
He looks crushed. “I’m so sorry.”
           
“This isn’t your fault. You did what you could.” A deep breath. A shrug. “What did Frederick say?”
           
“Your appeal was rejected. They won’t reverse the lower court’s ruling.”
           
“I gathered that. Tell me his words exactly.”
           
Jack looks to the paper. “They regard your claim as a ‘ non liquet.’”
           
“Interesting.”
           
“What does that mean?”
           
“‘Not clear’ or ‘not proven.’”
           
When Jack frowns, he puckers his mouth until his upper lip nearly touches his nose. It’s an odd, childish expression and one he’s used with greater frequency the longer he has known her. “Is that German?”
           
“Latin.”
           
“You know Latin?”
           
“Very little at this point.” Anna swats at him. “Go on.”
           
“The judges said that even though your death has never been proven, neither has your escape.”
           
“Ah. Clever.” She smiles at this dilemma. It is the ultimate Catch 22. Her escape can’t be proven without a formal declaration of identity from the court. “Read the rest please.”
           
He holds the envelope six inches from his nose and slowly recites the verdict. “‘We have not decided that the plaintiff is not Grand Duchess Anastasia, but only that the Hamburg court made it’s decision without legal mistakes and without procedural errors.’” He looks up. “So they have decided… nothing?”
           
She shakes her head slowly and then with more determination. “Oh they have decided everything, Jack.”
           
“It was that photo, wasn’t it? The court must have seen it. There’s no other reason they would rule against you. Damn that Rasputin. Damn her!” Jack begins to pace again. “We could make a statement—”
           
“No. It’s over.” Anna lifts her chin with all the dignity she can muster and folds her hands in her lap. She is resigned and regal. “They will never formally recognize me as Anastasia Romanov.”
 

Two Years Earlier

Charlottesville, Virginia, December 23, 1968
 
Anna does not want to marry Jack Manahan. She would rather marry Gleb. Even after all the trouble he’s caused through the years. But theirs is a story of false starts and near misses. Bad timing. Distance. And rash decisions. They were not meant to be. So Gleb has urged her to marry Jack instead. This whole fiasco is his idea—the courthouse, the silly pink dress, the bouquet of roses and pinecones, the white, rabbit fur hat that she’s supposed to wear out of the courthouse to greet the photographers (these arranged by Jack because the damnable man cannot help but make a scene everywhere he goes). Gleb insists the hat makes her look the part of Russian Grand Duchess. She refuses to wear the thing. Poor rabbit.
           
When they discussed this ridiculous plan in August, Gleb said his health was to blame, that he couldn’t marry her himself. He said that she would end up caring for him instead, but Anna believes that this is punishment for a long-held resentment. Tit for tat. Wound for wound. He has loved her for decades and she has never been able to fully reciprocate. Now he stands as witness to her unwilling nuptials. As best man, in fact.
           
It is snowing outside the courthouse. Not the angry, hard, blistering shards of snow she’s used to in Germany, but fat, lethargic flakes that drift and flutter and take their time getting to the ground. Lazy snow. American snow.
           
Anna’s had only a single a tryst since that limpid summer in Bavaria all those years ago, but Gleb moved on. Got married. Had children. They’ve never talked about the intervening years and it’s not worth bringing up now. Anna is seventy-two—too old to get married at all, much less for the first time. Jack Manahan is twenty years her junior. A former professor enamored with Russian history, with her—or, at least, the idea of her. Regardless, he hasn’t put up much of a fight since being presented with the plan. Jack’s only show of hesitation was a long, curious look at Gleb. Assessing his attachment and willingness to let Anna go.
           
It occurred to her, far too late into this arrangement, that she had not considered the issue of sex. Jack is young. Younger at least. And she is…well…she is not. The idea of consummation almost caused her to back out entirely. All of those hormones have shriveled up, turned to dust, and blown away. Desire is little more than a fond memory these days.
Gleb has taken care of that issue as well, however, assuring her that sex isn’t a necessary part of this bargain. She and Jack will have separate bedrooms. This will be a legal marriage, enough to keep her in the United States once her visa expires in three weeks, but it will be a marriage of convenience only. Gleb swore this, endless times, over what ended up being their last shared bottle of wine. Jack will not set a hand on her. Unless she wants him to. Why Gleb added that last part she isn’t sure. He wouldn’t meet her eyes as he said it and she said nothing in return. It was a small cruelty. This is how it is with them, apparently. Little wounds. Paper cuts. Just enough to sting but not really harm. Perhaps it’s best that they aren’t marrying one another after all.
           
Gleb slips into the antechamber beside the courtroom and surveys her tiny, slender form. “You look nice.”
           
He looks weary and pale and infirm. He’s lost weight recently and his once broad shoulders seem to have narrowed with illness and age. Anna wants to ask Gleb if his heart has gotten worse. But she’s afraid of what his answer might be. So she says. “I look ridiculous.”
           
“All brides look ridiculous. That’s why they’re so charming.”
           
Anna turns back to the window. It’s late afternoon, getting darker by the moment, and the overhead light bounces off the glass, throwing her reflection back at her. She touches a hand to her cheek. Traces one deep wrinkle after another, each of them telling a story she’s long since decided to cast into the sea of forgetfulness.
           
“I am too old for this,” she says.
           
“I know.”
           
“You admit it then?” She studies his reflection too, hovering over her shoulder. “But no apology I see.”
           
“It is this or you return to Germany,” he says. “We are out of time.”
           
“That always seems to be the case with us, doesn’t it?”
           
“Ships in the night,” he whispers and sets a large, warm hand on her shoulder. “Are you ready? Sergeant Pace is waiting. So is Jack.”
           
Sergeant?”
           
“Judge Morris called in sick this morning.”
           
Anna turns to him and looks, not at his face, but at the knot in his tie. Stares at the red and blue alternating stripes on the fabric, those thin lines circling back on themselves, all twisted and turned around. She’s knotted up as well, but now, suddenly, it’s with mirth.
           
“I am to be married,” she asks, tilting her chin to meet those twinkling green eyes, “not by a priest, or a judge, but by a police officer?”

“It gives an entirely new meaning to being read your rights, doesn’t it?”

They laugh, then, long and loud. She turns back to the window and they stand in comfortable silence, watching Charlottesville disappear beneath the snow.

Finally Anna leans her head back against Gleb’s chest. “How did I get here?” Anna sighs, already knowing the answer. She has gotten here, she has survived, by always doing the thing that needs to be done.

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Top reviews from the United States

Walt McKee
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Author playing games with the readers...
Reviewed in the United States on June 6, 2018
Very disappointing. Written largely in the backward style of "Memento" where every chapter is earlier than the one before it, which makes it very difficult to follow with each chapter being made pointless with the next, earlier, chapter. But my biggest complaint is... See more
Very disappointing. Written largely in the backward style of "Memento" where every chapter is earlier than the one before it, which makes it very difficult to follow with each chapter being made pointless with the next, earlier, chapter. But my biggest complaint is the author herself gloating at the end of the book for making an idiot of you for reading the book in the first place (suggestion: read the "I Told You So" note at the end, first). This author clearly has an ego problem and this is the last book of hers I will ever read. The story is great, she should have just told it and left it at that, and not played condescending games with the readers at the end.
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Pamela R. Riggs
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Disappointing book.
Reviewed in the United States on March 7, 2019
I have read extensively on the lives of the last Czar and his family. Included in my reading are books related to Anna Anderson. So, when I heard about this book- a novel based on the story of the Czar and his family and specifically the person that claimed to be Grand... See more
I have read extensively on the lives of the last Czar and his family. Included in my reading are books related to Anna Anderson. So, when I heard about this book- a novel based on the story of the Czar and his family and specifically the person that claimed to be Grand Duchess Anastasia (Anna Anderson) - I was intrigued. I was a little turned off by the 2 time lines - one running forward in time and another running backward. I hung with it and realized it was an interesting way to run the two different timelines. It was unique but may be a real turn-off to many readers. However, overall in the end I did not like the novel at all. I felt the author took way too many liberties with the story and went in strange directions. The depiction of the royal family was not what I know from my reading of historically based books and painted an often sleezy, unbecoming portrayal. I felt the reverse time-line that ran throughout the book (this is not a spoiler) ended upruptly and suddenly with little explination or support of the plot. I can''t recommend this book.
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SpatulaMom
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Slow to start, but a gripping second half
Reviewed in the United States on April 7, 2018
(historical spoilers below) I always hate to admit it, but I will give up on a book about halfway through if it doesn''t hold my attention. I thought about it with this one about 1/3 of the way through, but continued on and I''m glad I did. The second half of the... See more
(historical spoilers below)

I always hate to admit it, but I will give up on a book about halfway through if it doesn''t hold my attention. I thought about it with this one about 1/3 of the way through, but continued on and I''m glad I did. The second half of the book races along and not getting to the end was unthinkable.

The writing throughout is excellent, but I think I was at a bit of a disadvantage, knowing the stories of both Anastasia Romanov and Anna Anderson extremely well. I went into the book skeptical, and perhaps that''s what the author intended. By the end, I was actually saddened by the historical outcome, even though I know better.

The time distortions in the story do start out as confusing, I''ll admit. There were quite a few times where I had to scroll back to double check what year and approximate date I had just read. But they begin to make sense the further you read, and they become a natural part of the narrative.

If you''re unfamiliar with the Romanov''s history, this is a great starting point. If you are familiar with their history, especially Anastasia''s, you''ll find this book gives her a new voice and it''s well worth a listen.
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Michael C Gallo
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
No Spoiler Alert Needed
Reviewed in the United States on September 20, 2018
I considered beginning this review with a spoiler alert, but after brief consideration realized that really, none is needed. The logical base for this novel - those Tsar-struck and Romanov groupies among us - know the story well, and, unless one was hiding out in the Lost... See more
I considered beginning this review with a spoiler alert, but after brief consideration realized that really, none is needed. The logical base for this novel - those Tsar-struck and Romanov groupies among us - know the story well, and, unless one was hiding out in the Lost City of Z for most of the 20th century, there is no way the non-Russophile wouldn''t know the tale, either.

I am not a fan of fiction - especially historical fiction, where a character-creating author attempts to give speech to people who actually existed, complete with their own speech - so I was prepared to dislike this book (one of the reasons I, one of those aforementioned Romanov groupies, passed over it in the bookstore and bought it used on Amazon). We all know, and have for years, that DNA proved Anna Anderson was not the Grand Duchess. So what could this book present that was at all new and interesting?

I began it with pad and paper at hand the moment the Anna character (written in the third person - except for the prologue and afterword - and regressing in time) is defined as being "in her seventies" in 1968. Anastasia would still have been in her 60s. The fact that Anderson is in her seventies is mentioned about three times. I then noticed that the Anastasia portion (written in the first person, normal time sequence) mentions her age a few times - and it is correct. So, was the Anna portion in error, or a subtle way of already letting us know they aren''t the same person, almost from the first page? I''m not sure. But other minor errors - why change the breed of Anastasia''s dog - or was it an error? Why get Tatiana''s French bulldog''s name wrong? Not to mention an orthological error here, a grammatical error there, and the continuous mis-accenting of a French name which any first year French student knows needs an accent grave...sure, these are minor quibbles, but this is a historical novel, and one that claims to hew closely to fact. The author cites all the books she used in her author''s notes at the end, and there are quite a few, all of which are pretty solid historical works. She notes how she combined certain historical personages into one character or changed the fate of Anastasia''s dog (the likely spaniel [though I''ve also read it was a Pekingese, which I doubt] died with its owner, but she has the husky live for personal reasons - fair enough, she explains it) - but all in all, the result is that the book, while being a novel, doesn''t actually stray far from historical fact. Even some of the dialogue she takes from published letters and diaries. So why get these little things wrong? Didn''t anyone at that renowned publishing house (Doubleday) catch it?

In the end, even I, the grand skeptic prepared to dismiss this book entirely, decided it didn''t matter. Even I, having read every book and article published about the subject since the 1970s, who knew the details, found myself hurtling along with the narrative and actually surprised at the end. How? How could I be surprised by a story I knew the ending to?

I''m not sure how to describe it. Perhaps it was just not knowing how the author was going to wind this up. One notices, progressing, that some of the reasons folks believed Anderson was Anastasia gradually are explained...that all makes sense. Yet I still didn''t quite know where the author was heading. By this time the misused diacritical marks or number-subject disagreement were no longer creating slight indignation...I just wanted to see how this wrapped up. Of course, the backward timeline for the Anderson character keeps us in "suspense" (even knowing the answer) until her timeline merges with Anastasia''s - Anastasia''s progresses to July, 1918, and her murder; Anderson''s regresses to her fiance''s death in the war, giving birth in a refugee camp, being gravely wounded in a munitions factory accident. I knew all this, and yet I felt somehow surprised, and utterly disappointed that, once again, no Romanov survived that Ekaterinburg basement. It was as if, somehow, the book made me hope again - stupidly, yet it still had that effect - that there''d be a different outcome. The afterword said it all: Anderson rationalizing that we "needed [her] to be Anastasia". Then, the fictional framework for the story makes more sense, and I realized that it really was a much better book than I had anticipated.

As I was nearing the denouement, I also wondered why - once DNA proved once and for all that Anderson was the Polish factory worker she was always suspected of being, and not a Grand Duchess - no further books or articles were published about her. Peter Kurth''s "Anastasia: The Riddle of Anna Anderson" was the definitive work before the DNA testing - not only of Anderson, but of the remains found in 1970 in Russia and publicized in 1991 with glasnost - proved the truth once and for all. Kurth came to believe that Anderson was Anastasia, and it''s difficult not to agree. Once the truth was out, Anderson appears only as a footnote in some articles or tomes as the most famous of the many Romanov pretenders.

It''s interesting that the only book to deal with this fascinating story - perhaps more fascinating now that the truth is known - is this novel. The Author''s Notes mentions that she felt Anderson''s story was as worthy of telling as Anastasia''s, and she has done us a service in partially doing so. I say partially, because we are still looking at Anderson (even knowing the truth, as I said) through Romanov-colored glasses through the book. There have to be living relatives who know something about her early life, who she was before she either perpetrated this grand hoax (or was she convinced she was Anastasia?). The story of one of the greatest frauds (or delusions) of the 20th century certainly deserves to be told. How did she manage to fool even those who should have known better? Did they really just want to believe so badly, like we did? How did she fool handwriting experts and pass that ear-identification in Germany? This is a poor Pole who hobnobbed with royalty and who managed to live on the charity of believing and loyal friends for the rest of her life, passing herself off as Russian royalty. That''s worthy of investigation - the supreme human interest story - but no one seems to even have considered it once Anderson''s true identity was confirmed. Credit goes to this author who at least saw it, even though she structured the book as a novel and thus still didn''t get into the whys and wherefores of Anderson''s transformation and their subsequent effects, which take on an entirely new and exciting cast since Kurth et al. reported.

The most telling line in the book comes from the lips of the fictionalized Ingrid Bergman, who meets Anderson in preparation for her role in 1956''s "Anastasia" (in which the title character was an amnesia victim). Anderson asks Bergman "Do you think I''m lying?"

Bergman replies, "I don''t care".

In the end, the fact Anderson turned out not to be Anastasia is moot for the purposes of this book. We all know that they''re not the same person, but in the end, we don''t care. Anderson''s story is one that deserves to be told especially now that we know who she really was...and it still hasn''t been. This novel is the closest to come to it. No wonder the author didn''t want to write it but felt she had to. Now, someone, pick up the gauntlet and write the Anderson book that goes on the non-fiction shelf!
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Njrunner
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent read
Reviewed in the United States on April 8, 2018
Just a word to the wise, this book was written in a backward timeline telling Anna’s story and forward timeline telling Anastasia’s story. The truth lies in the middle, which’s the end of the book. I wasn’t sure if that was going to annoy me enough to stop reading. It... See more
Just a word to the wise, this book was written in a backward timeline telling Anna’s story and forward timeline telling Anastasia’s story. The truth lies in the middle, which’s the end of the book. I wasn’t sure if that was going to annoy me enough to stop reading. It wasn’t. Wow, what a great Book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and had a hard time putting it down. Well written and characters well developed. Highly recommend.
38 people found this helpful
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Lindy Lou
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Enjoyable Read
Reviewed in the United States on April 22, 2018
Sometimes it is hard to read a book when without a doubt you know that the ending will not be to your liking. Historical fiction which tells a story such as this one which is intricately woven is a joy to read. A conundrum? Maybe so, but trust me this a book that will be... See more
Sometimes it is hard to read a book when without a doubt you know that the ending will not be to your liking. Historical fiction which tells a story such as this one which is intricately woven is a joy to read. A conundrum? Maybe so, but trust me this a book that will be enjoyed by lovers of historical fiction. Thanks for a great read!
17 people found this helpful
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s scott joplin
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Don''t Bother to Read This Book
Reviewed in the United States on June 2, 2018
I love historical fiction, but hated this book. The back and forth of time periods was jarring. But, the biggest disappointment was the character development. It was impossible to figure out the imposter''s motivation or how she was able to get away with her deception (if... See more
I love historical fiction, but hated this book. The back and forth of time periods was jarring. But, the biggest disappointment was the character development. It was impossible to figure out the imposter''s motivation or how she was able to get away with her deception (if one thinks she did get away with it).
11 people found this helpful
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Barbara A. Tilley
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Interesting Approach to a Great Historical Mystery
Reviewed in the United States on July 28, 2019
The book arrived on time, was in excellent condition, and was securely packaged to prevent damage. i have not completely finished the book, but I have found it to be well written, and with thought -provoking argument that Anastasia did survive. Of course, as a novel, the... See more
The book arrived on time, was in excellent condition, and was securely packaged to prevent damage. i have not completely finished the book, but I have found it to be well written, and with thought -provoking argument that Anastasia did survive. Of course, as a novel, the author takes some liberties with actions , and "Anastasia"''s personality, but it is a good read. The author goes back and forth with scenes from Russia after the Czar abdicated and Anna''s life after the 1918 murders. Although it has pretty well been proven through DNA that none of the family survived, the book is still a "page-turner". I wanted to read it because the Russia Royal Family has always fascinated me, and I wanted to see how the author handled this mystery.
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Top reviews from other countries

marigold white
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Russian-historical
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 9, 2019
Very interesting,as maybe that was how it was. It amazes me a woman could impersonate Anastasia all those years, i feel she must have been convinced she was Anastasia, there are so many discrepancies, and there could have been a reason, some didn''t want to acclaim her, as...See more
Very interesting,as maybe that was how it was. It amazes me a woman could impersonate Anastasia all those years, i feel she must have been convinced she was Anastasia, there are so many discrepancies, and there could have been a reason, some didn''t want to acclaim her, as there were monetary interests involved. It may not have suited certain surviving members of the Romanov''s, who can say? the only thing I didn''t like, was that it didn''t seem historically accurate at times, and people being in places that they weren''t, but never mind, still intriguing all the same.
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Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
good read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 6, 2020
I have studied Anastasia and the Tsar''s family for many years-and this book is "Anna Anderson" morre or less writing her diary as Anastasia. Very well written and very interesting, but difficult to follow as the chapters go back and forward in time and you''re never quite...See more
I have studied Anastasia and the Tsar''s family for many years-and this book is "Anna Anderson" morre or less writing her diary as Anastasia. Very well written and very interesting, but difficult to follow as the chapters go back and forward in time and you''re never quite sure where you are. I love the fact that the author says at the end that she knows the rreal Anastasia''s body has been found and Anna Anderson was an imposter.
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AR
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Phenomenal
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 25, 2018
Ive always been interested in the Romanov family and was looking forward to reading this for ages. Just could not put it down once I started. Told so intelligently and with such attention to detail. Wish there was more! Loved it! Book of the year so far!!!
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toby
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Interesting Historical Fiction
Reviewed in Canada on March 5, 2019
An intriguing and realistic read. However, I gave it 3 stars because, personally, I did NOT appreciate the structure of the writing. For example : one chapter might take place in 1917 in Russia, the next in 1940 NYC, then the next " 3 days earlier", followed by a new date...See more
An intriguing and realistic read. However, I gave it 3 stars because, personally, I did NOT appreciate the structure of the writing. For example : one chapter might take place in 1917 in Russia, the next in 1940 NYC, then the next " 3 days earlier", followed by a new date in 1917 etc etc. .....very annoying for me.
5 people found this helpful
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Darryl
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Hard to follow
Reviewed in Canada on March 30, 2019
I found this book hard to follow. One characters story was written in reverse chronological order but even then it skipped around and it was hard to know where you were in her story. A chapter would start out with 3 different years and then would skip to 6 months prior, 3...See more
I found this book hard to follow. One characters story was written in reverse chronological order but even then it skipped around and it was hard to know where you were in her story. A chapter would start out with 3 different years and then would skip to 6 months prior, 3 weeks prior and so on. I did like the storyline. I would recommend this book but with a caution that it is hard to follow.
2 people found this helpful
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