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 in Berlin. Refusing to explain her presence in the freezing water, 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 woman claims to be the Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia.
Her detractors, convinced that the young woman is only after the immense Romanov fortune, insist on calling her by a different name: Anna Anderson.
As rumors begin to circulate through European society that the youngest Romanov daughter has survived the massacre, old enemies and new threats are awakened. With a brilliantly crafted dual narrative structure, Lawhon wades into the most psychologically complex and emotionally compelling territory yet: the nature of identity itself.
The question of who Anna Anderson is and what actually happened to Anastasia Romanov creates a saga that spans fifty years and touches three continents. This thrilling story is every bit as moving and momentous as it is harrowing and twisted.
Lawhon's spectacular, emotionally rich third historical thoroughly imagines the events leading up to the execution of Russia's royal family in 1918, after the October Revolution by the Bolsheviks. In a dual narrative, Lawhon also tackles the life of Anna Anderson, a woman who claimed to be Anastasia Romanov in Berlin in 1920. She has what look like scars from old bullet wounds, consistent with the manner in which the Romanovs were murdered. Anna's claims spread fast, and she's wooed by a long list of wealthy patrons who jump at the chance to be near possible royalty. Using material from the correspondence of the Romanov servants, Lawhon (Flight of Dreams) fleshes out the minutiae of the life of young Anastasia, a vibrant young lady confronting the loss of everything she's ever known. The tragic story of Anastasia is an enduring one, and the woman who laid claim to her birthright is a testament to the world's desire to believe in Anastasia's survival. This sprawling, immersive tale travels from revolutionary Russia to interwar France and Germany, bringing its characters to sparkling life.
Customer ReviewsSee All
It’s good reading
Too long. I skipped all the stuff in the middle. I missed what happened to Tomas.
Riveting & Disturbing
I Was Anastasia is the amazing story of Anna Anderson, a woman who claimed to be, Anastasia Romanov, the Grand Duchess of Russia, and the only family member to survive the Romanov massacre of 1918.
This book is riveting, absorbing, and disturbing. I was engrossed from the first page. The author’s writing is exquisite. Ariel Lawhon, cleverly, and meticulously, described the life of Anastasia Romanov and how Anna Anderson, struggled to prove to the world, that she was the Russian Grand Duchess.
I completely lost track of time while reading this amazing novel. It’s obvious that the author thought about each sentence in this book, choosing and placing each word carefully, for maximum effect. The author’s writing is so sharp and raw that the pages came alive for me. The only thing I had difficulty with was the frequent time changes, i.e., one month later, two weeks earlier, etc. The book tells the story of Anna Anderson/ Anastasia Romanov while in Russia, Germany, and America. It also describes some of the despair and pain she had endured as a homeless person on the run, as a prisoner, and as a patient in an insane asylum.
I was unaware of the Russian Romanov family history when I started this book, so it truly was an eye-opener for me. The book is fascinating, haunting, and unforgettable.
Thank you, Doubleday Books and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.
This book is not worth buying. I listened to the audiobook. The time line is hard to follow by starting recent and bouncing around in time. Half way through I just wanted the book to end. I continued listening because I payed for it. It ends by insulting the reader also. Borrow from library if you really want to listen to this book.