Author Topic: I AM ANASTASIA by Ariel Lawton  (Read 2084 times)

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Offline Louis_Charles

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I AM ANASTASIA by Ariel Lawton
« on: August 16, 2018, 03:38:50 PM »
   Hmm. Lawhon tries to pull off a tricky timeline in telling the story, and I am curious. If you are not familiar with the Anna Anderson story, was it difficult to follow? I am very familiar with it, and found it more annoying than anything else. Fascinating moments (the meeting with Hitler, the Manahan marriage, the encounter with Maria Rasputin) hurtle by in reverse order, and it gets a bit frustrating. Before you can invest in the scene, you're off to the next and it will (1) never be mentioned again and (2) have no discernible repercussions. Meanwhile, the story of the Grand Duchess is approaching from the opposite end of the century. If you know the Anderson story, it all works out in a thoroughly predictable moment. And while I won't provide spoilers, there are enough casual clues strewn throughout to let the attentive reader deduce who is telling the story. Pay particular attention every time "Anderson" mentions her age. That being said, the payoff is pretty much on the money.

The writing is okay, better when it is Anderson's narration. Anastasia's is a complete wash as far as the original girl's personality is concerned. Lawhon also plunges into all sorts of controversies without fear . . . or documentation. The Romanov girls (Olga, Tatiana and Anastasia) are gang-raped while they are traveling to rejoin their parents and sister Maria at the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg. The usual location for this story is aboard the steamer Rus, but Lawhon shifts the action to a train. She also puts Alexei in the train compartment with Anastasia, but fortunately the boy goes back to sleep after the screaming starts. Yeah. Anyway, Maria is up to sexual hijinks of her own just down the tracks a bit. The discovery of her affair with a guard leads to a scene so absurd it grinds the story to a halt while the reader tries to make sense of what he has just read.

There are some minor quibbles with actual, knowable facts. The Grand Duchesses Xenia and Olga were the Tsar's younger sisters, not elder. Nagorny is never mentioned. Nor are any of the other retainers who went to Ekaterinburg but were not allowed into the House of Special Purpose, which seems hard cheese considering that the Reds shot quite a few of them. Gilliard stands in for everyone.

Anyway, it's a thriller, not actual history. Although I think she wanted it to be more than that.
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