Monday, April 19, 2010

Anastasia's Secret by Susanne Dunlap

"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 - book jacket

Dunlap’s first novel for young adults, The Musician’s Daughter, was one of my favorite historical fiction novels last year. Anastasia’s Secret however didn’t quite reach that level with me and was harder to get into. Although I love reading about the Romanovs and the Last Grand Duchess, I was just a little too disappointed because I was so hoping Dunlap’s second novel would be just as smashing as The Musician's Daughter. Of course you can’t always compare so critically because there were a few differences I would like to point out that shouldn't be compared. With Anastasia's Secret, Dunlap had to follow a set of rules/timelines because the character she was bringing to life had a very important history. Another reason why I tried to not judge too harshly was the fact that Dunlap (as she said in her author’s note) that she wasn’t use to writing in first person! That’s right. This story comes straight from Anastasia’s mouth and I must confess, Dunlap’s quite good at doing justice to the Duchess's personality. In fact, I couldn’t imagine Anastasia any other way.
After reading about halfway through the book I discovered a pattern in the storyline. The book slowed way down when Anastasia was talking about everyday life. Then it picked up (and skipped through time) again when Anastasia was with Sasha. It seemed like the entire novel evolved around Anastasia’s relationship with Sasha. I’m not really complaining about it because after all that is Anastasia’s “secret”, but I would have liked the scenes in between to have been more interesting.
In The Musician’s Daughter I saw the streets of Vienna; in this book, I only heard about the Romanov family–it was hard to picture them. 

Despite a few flaws and high expectations, I did think Anastasia’s Secret was still a decent historical romance and that Anastasia was brought to life in a way that was almost magical. I can’t wait until Dunlap writes another story for us. (You wouldn’t believe how excited I was when I found out this one was being released!)
Recommendation: If you’ve read Dunlap’s other novels then Anastasia’s Secret is a must. I would highly recommend to history lovers or historical romance junkies both teen and adult. If you like fast-paced books or have a tendency to abandoned books after a couple chapters then try The Musician’s DaughterAnastasia’s Secret is probably not for you. Recommend to teens ages 14+.
For Parents and Teens

This Book is For: Teens or adults who enjoy a good historical (romance) fiction novel or who have a soft-spot for Anastasia stories.
This Book is Not For: Teens who don’t like historical fiction or who can’t stick with a slower plot.

Content Radar: There is sensuality between Sasha and Anastasia and some sexual situations–nothing extremely detailed. There is also lewd remarks from soldiers as well. Not appropriate for teens/tweens 12 and under. (PG)

The Last Straw: What is it about Bloomsbury novels? They smell like adventure!

“I hear the tune and recall a nursemaid singing to me.” - Anastasia

|Pages: 333|Year Published: Nov. 2009|Publisher: Bloomsbury|
|Genre: Historical fiction, romance, 1900s, WWI|
|Age Group: YA, 14+| Content: PG|
|Enjoyed It: 4/5|Content Rating: 4/5|Cover: 5/5|
|Overall: 4/5 |



Kelsey said...

This sounds good, I may check it out just for the premise. I really want to read her debut though!

Nina said...

I like the cover of this book and I've been waiting for this to come out. I love the sound of it, but somethimes a slow story isn't always interesting to read. I will try it.
Thanks for your great review!

::Sylvia:: said...

I almost bought this book yesterday! I figured I'd finish reading the couple I bought last week first though. So happy to read your review!

Also, thought you might want to share this with your readers. I'm having a huge book giveaway on my blog throughout the remainder of this month. Autographed copies of books like Princess for Hire, Scones & Sensibility, Tortilla Sun and many more! Some are ARC's since the books haven't been released yet. Check it out here:

Related Posts with Thumbnails