ROMANOV by Nadine Brandes is a magical and optimistic book focusing on the last few months of the Romanov family — including the legendary Anastasia — before and after the family is executed by the Bolsheviks. I received this ARC on behalf of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This post DOES NOT CONTAIN SPOILERS.
I will publish a post containing spoilers on Tuesday, May 14 to give readers the opportunity to read the story and form their own thoughts. However, here is the summary and the shortened review:
The history books say I died.
They don’t know the half of it.
Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them . . . and he’s hunted Romanov before.
Nastya’s only chances of survival are to either release the spell, and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya’s never dabbled in magic before, but it doesn’t frighten her as much as her growing attraction for Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her . . .
That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.
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Why I was interested: I have always loved the story of Anastasia since I was a toddler renting the animated movie from good ol’ Blockbuster. As I got older, I grew to appreciate the history surrounding her family and also the legends that followed her death. Aslo, I received FAWKES by Brandes for Christmas and I was fascinated with how she would make this sad story become something magical.
Judge a book by it’s cover: It’s a very pretty Russian-inspired cover. My only note is that the dress feels slightly outside of the 1910s time period (my first thought shouted the 1700s…so it did throw me off a bit).
What to expect: While magical, this story does lead up to the historical assassination of the royal family which I have yet to see in YA and can be brutal if you know what is going to happen. However, there is some really great optimism in this story, and I appreciate how much care Brandes takes to be historically accurate with how the family acted with the soldiers that kept them under house arrest and how the children grew up.
Why you should pick this book up: This is definitely a more historically accurate Anastasia story so if you loved the original animation or, more so, the Broadway show, then this book is perfect for you. It is a standalone if you are interested in that aspect, and once you get to about 30%, you won’t be able to stop (so expect a nice late night of reading).
Want more?: If you have read ROMANOV, you can read the post containing spoilers when I post it on Tuesday, May 14. Until then, Brandes other story, FAWKES, a historical fantasy focusing on Guy Fawkes Day, is available to read.
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