Maddie Marusek: I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon

This summer, I was strolling through the book section of the Costco near my house when a book titled I Was Anastasia caught my eye. I decided to buy the book, which was undoubtedly the best thing I have ever bought from Costco. Ariel Lawhon tells the story of  Anastasia Romanav, the youngest daughter of the last Russain tsar, and her best known impersonator, Anna Anderson, compellingly enough to create the illusion of possibility that Anna is the real Anastasia. While everyone knew that the rest of Anastasia’s family had been shot and killed by revolutionaries in 1918, Anastasia’s body was not found until much later. While there was still the possibility of her remaining alive, many people claimed to be her, seeking game or to claim the family fortune. In I Was Anastasia, Anna’s story moves backwards in time from 1970 to 1918, and Anastasia’s story moves forward to July 1918. As the story gets closer to the revolution in 1918, the two women’s stories trade back and forth with rapid intensity. Anna’s last words of the novel are a haunting reminder about how belief and trust often work only because we want to believe someone.

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