Review: I Was Anastasia, by Ariel Lawhon

GWB - 4 Stars

I would like to thank Doubleday Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.

I have never been particularly interested in the Romanov family tragedy or in Anna Anderson, but when I ran across the opportunity to read an eARC of this book through NetGalley, something about it made me jump on it. Probably the fact that Ariel Lawhon does not write the book in an effort to TELL you whether or not Anna is Anastasia. The book is written in such a way that you are left to decide for yourself, which is a bit intriguing and mysterious.

I will admit, I looked up Anna Anderson fairly quickly into the book, and I would caution those true thrill seekers out there who want a bit of a surprise at the end to save your time on Wikipedia or other websites for AFTER reading this book. I feel that I did take SOME of the enjoyment away from myself that way, but it did not detract in any way from the quality of the book, which I rated 4 stars.

The reason I DID rate this book 4 stars instead of 5, despite having enjoyed it quite greatly was because of the way that the book moves through time during the course of the storytelling. The book, rather than moving forward through time and having flashbacks to the distant past, moved BACKWARD through time and also had flashbacks to the distant past. This method of storytelling WAS explained at the end of the book, and once explained I understood the method behind what I originally considered to be madness. But, I have to admit that the method detracted from my enjoyment while I was reading because I found myself frequently without information that I quickly learned would come in a chapter or two if I continued reading. It just made for some puzzling situations and conversations in the book where things took a while to add up.

Overall, I found this book to be quite enjoyable, though. I felt a continuous urge to keep reading – whether to find out whether or not Anna was Anastasia or just to put together the pieces of the puzzle that the author was creating with her method of storytelling. And additionally, I am now interested in finding out more about Anastasia / Anna.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and I am never compensated for my reviews.

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