There’s a heavy price to pay for royalty in this compelling—and true—story of Anastasia Romanov and her fellow grand duchesses of Russia, from an award-winning novelist.
It’s summer in 1914 and the Romanovs are aboard the Standart, the Russian royal yacht. Tsar Nicholas, Tsaritsa Alexandra, their four daughters, and the youngest child, Tsarevitch Alexei, are sailing to Romania to meet Crown Prince Carol and his parents. It seems like a fairy tale existence for the four grand duchesses, dressed in beautiful clothes, traveling from palace to palace. But it’s not.
Life inside the palace is far from a fairy tale. The girls’ younger brother suffers from an excruciatingly painful and deadly blood disease, and their parents have chosen to shield the Russian people from the severity of the future tsar’s condition. The secrets and strain are hard on the family, and conditions are equally dire beyond the palace walls. Peasants suffer under the burden of extreme poverty and Tsar Nicholas’s leadership power weakens. And when the unthinkable happens—Germany declares war on Russia—nothing in Anastasia’s world will ever be the same.
As she has done in Cleopatra Confesses, Victoria Rebels, and other titles, Meyer imagines the life of a historical royal, this time Anastasia Romanova, the teenage daughter of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. On the cusp of the revolution that will doom her family and its way of life, Anastasia chronicles the last days of their glory, as well as the years leading up to their demise. Meyer is on sure footing with this story, her prose lush with vivid detail. That same attention to historical detail can impede the story's momentum, but the passage of years and looming war, along with Anastasia's mischievous spying on her sister Olga's love life and her thoughts on Father Grigory (aka Rasputin), will entice readers onward. Anastasia's endearing narrative voice, coupled with her intimate observations of her family and their royal adventures, make her chronological account all the more bittersweet. Meyer chooses not to re-imagine the fate that eventually befalls this Russian princess, giving the novel a tragic and moving end, though an epilogue details the family's deaths and 21st-century efforts to authenticate their remains. Ages 12 up.