Anastasia and Her Sisters - Carolyn Meyer
I don't think I'll ever read enough books about the Romanov family - especially when it comes to the Grand Duchesses. Carolyn Meyer is no stranger to turning the stories of historical characters into works of fiction (she does stick close to the facts but also takes a creative license when telling these stories), nor is she a stranger to Anastasia Romanov having years ago written Anastasia: The Last Grand Duchess for The Royal Diaries series roughly 15 years ago. Having read that novel way back when, Beauty's Daughter: The Story of Hermione and Helen of Troy last January, and having two additional novels of Carolyn's on my self I knew I couldn't pass up her latest installment.

Carolyn tells the last years of the Romanov rule through Anastasia's eyes as she is probably the most well known of the sisters, a fact we can most likely thank all the imposters claiming to be her and having survived the massacre of her family in 1918. The novel beings in 1918 as Anastasia, two of her sisters, and a family friend "dispose of the medicines" - their code for hiding their jewels by sewing them into their clothing - before backtracking to the year 1911 and coming full circle.

Anastasia's story focuses on the lives of the sisters, especially Olga as Anastasia finds herself constantly reading Olga's secret diary, and strays away from the political aspects of the time. Nicholas and Alexandra kept their children rather in the dark when it came to what was happening in Russia outside of their family and small group of friends and were daily dressed alike by their mother (even well into their teens and early adulthood) so it makes sense that Anastasia and Her Sisters makes little notes of these historical aspects

We spend seven years with the Romanov family and Anastasia's voice grows and changes throughout that time. She goes from talking about her hatred of school and dreaming of balls to understanding that things are not right in Russia even though she doesn't fully grasp what this means for herself and her family. Her thoughts go from surface level to deeper thought and it's this growth and development that adds to the reading experience.

Every time I read a novel about the Romanovs it's hard not to feel emotional. By adding a certain level of depth and characterization, Caroyln makes the emotion even stronger. We're not just reading about their exile, we're feeling their exile. We're sitting in Tobolsk, staring out the windows to our friends in the house across the street but able to talk with them; we're at Ipatiev House with only a half hour of daily exercise in an enclosed garden and our windows painted over to keep us isolated. This isn't a nonfiction biography that spews out facts (don't get me wrong, love those too), but a historical novel that gives these characters life.