Monday, March 22, 2010

Review ANASTASIA'S SECRET by Susanne Dunlap

by Susanne Dunlap
March 2nd 2010 by Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books
Hardcover, 320 pages

Placement in the Pile: Reaching New Heights

“Will I never see you again either?” I asked, feeling as though I was about to jump off a high mountain peak and hope to land without hurting myself. That’s how impossible everything seemed at that moment, no matter what I did.

“Perhaps we will meet again,” Sasha said, softening his voice. “But you must see that it does not matter. You have so much ahead of you. It’s your choice now. Choose the future! Choose life!”

For Anastasia Romanov, life as the privileged daughter of Russia’s last tsar is about to be torn apart by the bloodshed of revolution. Ousted from the imperial palace when the Bolsheviks seize control of the government, Anastasia and her family are exiled to Siberia. But even while the rebels debate the family’s future with agonizing slowness and the threat to their lives grows more menacing, romance quietly blooms between Anastasia and Sasha, a sympathetic young guard she has known since childhood. But will the strength of their love be enough to save Anastasia from a violent death?

Inspired by the mysteries that have long surrounded the last days of the Romanov family, Susanne Dunlap’s new novel is a haunting vision of the life—and love story—of Russia’s last princess.

Unlike fantasy versions of what may have happened to Anastasia and her family the Romanovs, this story takes you deep withing their world in a "what might have been" story.

Dunlap writes expertly, capturing the voice of this once Grand Duchess in her childhood through teenage years.
Her sweet innocent voice juxtaposed with the intense realizations of a Russia that is falling apart, a world full of poverty, hate and a Europe-wide war, Anastasia's voice comes through in this novel more than anything. I was captured by the voice from the beginning and I literally could not put it down.

This inside peek as to what it would be like to grow up sheltered from the world, befriend a soldier and be shown why the people are so angry with her family was a great way to imagine the young Anastasia's life. Shasha, the young soldier becomes Anastasia's love interest in the book in a powerful setting of what might have been for this princess.

I liked this novel more than Dunlap's first young adult novel. It is long, but I was so captured by the story that it didn't matter. I wanted to keep reading, to experience this time in the life of you youngest Romanov daughter. I have always loved the story of Anastasia, but most of the stories I know involve magic and mystical powers. This is a much more historically accurate story of what happened to the family, and for that I am grateful it is out there.

I do have to say that I would rate this PG-13 as there is some sexual content and blantant talk about Anastasia's physical development into womanhood. It is never base or disgusting, but it is there.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for my interview with Susanne Dunlap!

*Book source disclosure: I was sent an ARC of this book by the publisher.


Lea (YA Book Queen) said...

This one sounds great, especially since you didn't want to put it down! Great review :)

Sara said...

Sounds good! I think I'll go start reading it when child #2 is asleep, since #1 is sick and we're stuck at home... :-)