Click Here To Win a Copy of “The Empty Ones” by Robert Brockway!!!
Enter HERE

Blog Archive

View My Stats
Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"Anastasia's Secret" by Susan Dunlap (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Visit Susanne Dunlap's Official Site here
Order Anastasia's Secret here

Introduction: Susanne Dunlap is the author of the YA historical novels The Musicians Daughter and Emilie's Voice. Susanne draws upon her experience with music as she has a PHD in music history to draw up her novels.

Overview: Anastasia Romanov is the privileged daughter of the tsar of Russia. She leads a very sheltered life within the palace walls. Everything she could have ever imagined is at her fingertips.

One evening while attending a ball, Anastasia sneaks out to the gardens where she meets a young soldier playing an instrument outside. Instant attraction causes her to come over and start talking to him. Anastasia soon learns that what the people of the outside world think of her and her family isn't what she believes her family is like at all.

A few chance meetings later, the young soldier, known as Sasha, shows Anastasia that the outside of Russia isn't at all like her palace life. That the outside world is cruel, poor and a lot worse off then Anastasia ever believed.

Through the years Anastasia begins to develop a slight crush on Sasha. However a war breaks out and sends Sasha away, and the events of what is to be known as one of histories most dramatic mass murders are about to unfold.

Can Anastasia's secret friendship save not only herself and her family from the terrible fate that is awaiting them?

Format: Anastasia's Secret is a YA historical fiction/romance novel. It stands at 320 pages and is told from the first person point of view of Anastasia Romanov. Anastasia's Secret was published March 2, 2010 from Bloomsbury Publishing.

Analysis: The Romanov period of Russian history is probably one of my favorite periods of time in history. Anything involving the last royal family of Russia has my attention. So when I heard about a YA romance novel that involved Anastasia Romanov and involved some of the actual events that happened I was very excited to get my hands on this novel. However, this novel wasn't exactly what I expected at all.

Anastasia is such a monumental historical figure that taking on a novel that involves her character is a very big undertaking. However it almost feels as though Susanne Dunlap was a little apprehensive in taking any part of Anastasia and making it her own. Instead it feels as though this novel is built around the historical facts of what is known about the life of Anastasia Romanov. However,what is known about Anastasia is very little, she is hardly mentioned in letters and any recordings of history beyond a brief mention or two. Dunlap appears to have stuck simply to historical facts of Anastasia and therefor the character appears a bit flat and doesn't really develop beyond a shell of a character. There isn't much depth to Anastsia's personality and it seems as if this is done because there was never a mention of this in the research that was done so therefore it couldn't come out in this novel.

There isn't much action instead if appears as if all the characters walk around in a very stilted world and not much happens to Anastasia, she lives in the palace and doesn't really go out much. Even the supposed "romance" between Sasha is a bit overstated. Sasha at times is overshadowed in favor of showing off what life in the palace was like. Although he does appear on and off throughout the book, it almost seems as though he takes a back seat to a lot of the other elements, and I would have liked to see a bit more actions between him and Anastasia.

That's not to say this novel isn't good. Susanne Dunlap did her research and there is a lot that can be grasped from this. Her portrayal of what life would have been like in the palace was wonderfully drawn out to readers. There are a lot of references to how the outside world viewed the imperial family and it was very interesting to see Dunlap take advantage of the changing of the attitudes towards the Romonovs. I wouldn't say that someone who doesn't know anything about this period of time would completely understand the whole political undertones of what happened as there are very little explanations of what really happened to the Romonov family but it really would be a wonderful novel for those looking to see what palace life was like after the tsar was overthrown.

I think the main disappointment for myself was the lack of ending, it just sort of ends with no real definite ending. Everyone knows what happened to the family, I'm not sure if this type of ending was supposed to make the readers draw their own conclusions of what happened to Anastasia or if it was again because of the sticking to historical facts and this is where the historical facts get a little sketchy.

Susanne Dunlap is a wonderful historical writer, she really puts her heart and soul into the research. However, it appears as if her undertaking of such a monumental historical character might have fallen a bit short. While her writing show cases a lot of historical facts, it doesn't really grab the essence of the main character's personality and therefore readers don't really get to see Anastasia as a person but instead get a better grasp of what her lifestyle was like then who she is or was.


Follow by Email


Click Here To Order “The Wall of Storms” by Ken Liu!!!
Order HERE


Click Here To Order “Goldenhand” by Garth Nix!!!
Order HERE


Click Here To Order “Of Sand & Malice” by Bradley Beaulieu!!!
Order HERE


Click Here To Order “Summerlong” by Peter S. Beagle!!!
Order HERE


Click Here To Order “Spellbreaker” by Blake Charlton!!!
Order HERE


Click Here To Order “The Obelisk Gate” by N.K. Jemisin!!!
Order HERE