I Was Anastasia

A Novel
Length: 13 hrs and 3 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (654 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“Compelling and utterly fascinating...drifts far into the mysterious lives of Anastasia Romanov and Anna Anderson.” (Lisa Wingate, author of Before We Were Yours)

In an enthralling new feat of historical suspense, Ariel Lawhon unravels the extraordinary twists and turns in Anna Anderson's 50 year battle to be recognized as Anastasia Romanov. Is she the Russian Grand Duchess, a beloved daughter and revered icon, or is she an imposter, 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 survives. 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 50 years and touches three continents. This thrilling story is every bit as moving and momentous as it is harrowing and twisted.

©2018 Ariel Lawhon (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"I Was Anastasia is a wild train trip through time. The doors swish open here, then there, scenes sometimes racing by, sometimes drifting far into the mysterious lives of Anastasia Romanov and Anna Anderson. Every view is tantalizing, surprising, compelling, and utterly fascinating. Ariel Lawhon unfolds a complicated story with skill, style, and compassion." (Lisa Wingate, New York Times best-selling author of Before We Were Yours)

"A young Tsarina traveling towards tragedy and an aging Grand Duchess penniless and betrayed. Twin stories so gripping you will believe history itself can be rewritten. Told with masterful intensity and moments of true human compassion." (Helen Simonson, New York Times best-selling author of The Summer Before the War)

"Ariel Lawhon is a masterful storyteller; I Was Anastasia is a wild ride, extravagant with its vivid sensory experiences and page turning suspense. Inspired by history, and infused with imagination and intrigue, this novel satisfies with every twist and turn. I was both captivated and enchanted; I will carry this story - from its beguiling opening to its catch-my-breath ending - in my heart and imagination for a long, long while." (Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times best-selling author of Driftwood Summer and The Bookshop at Water's End)

What listeners say about I Was Anastasia

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  • Overall
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An Interesting Read

I was pulled in from the moment the story started, it was that good! I was torn and unsure of whether this was really Anastasia or an imposter. You have to read it for yourself to find out, but I was shocked at the ending, and yes I would recommend this book.

6 people found this helpful

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Review

I wasn't sure how I was going to like this book. I got it simply because I was curious about how it would be told and I like the subject matter. But as I was listening, I was sure, that I wasn't going to recommend this to anyone. By the end of the book though, I would suggest this to anyone. The ending of this book is what made me want to relisten to this book.

6 people found this helpful

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Even knowing the true story,still enjoyed the book

Any additional comments?

I am familiar with the story behind this book, and that did not make it less enjoyable. I really enjoyed narration (Sian Thomas sounds so regal and dignified!), and the look into the life of Anna Anderson.

14 people found this helpful

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I was completely blown away.

It was SUCH a good book. It does take some brain power to work forwards in one timeline and backwards in another. But the story could not have been told any better.

8 people found this helpful

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Interesting

Interesting topic, loved the authors explanation at the end. Anna's story Got a little boring at times, loved the Anastasia perspective.

2 people found this helpful

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So hard to follow!

I slugged through this book but was so tired of trying to follow the back and forth in time. I wanted to love it but sadly it was a flop!

3 people found this helpful

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Great historical fiction

Loved the story and the history surrounding it. The author haa done a wonderful job of keeping the reader interested and entertained.

1 person found this helpful

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An Amazing Period of Time

I enjoyed the book very much. I have read a lot about Anastasia and her family. My husbands family lost a lot of kin during this time period. There was a few new things I learned. Over all.... I don't believe that this women was Anastasia but she did know a lot about Anastasia and her family. The family died very tragically so you always hope that someone did make it out alive.
The book moves very nicely and the author makes you feel like you are there cheering Anastasia on!

1 person found this helpful

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Okay

The book was slow in the beginning but became more interesting toward the en. However, the ending seemed as though the author couldn’t figure out how to end the book so it just stopped.

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Interesting Take and "Page Turner"

This book was a pleasant surprise. I love the way it was written, almost backwards in time explaining all the events in a different way than expected. Definitely a great read!