ANASTASIA AND HER SISTERS
The haunting story of the four Romanov daughters, set in imperial Russia in the early part of the 20th century.
Review in School Library Journal:
This classic tale from modern Russian literature typically gets 10 minutes in some history classes, but the story deserves a wider audience. Here, retold by Meyer, it has strong potential to intrigue middle school historical fiction fans. It is told in Anastasia’s voice starting when she is 13 years old. On the cusp of World War I, her father is the last tsar and her family lives an opulent and epicurean lifestyle. Anastasia, her four sisters, and her parents are oblivious to warning signs that the tsar’s reign is under siege. When Anastasia starts reading her oldest sister’s diary in secret, she realizes that her world is in flux. She begins to notice the delicacies her family eats routinely that nobody else can procure. In a subplot, Anastasia has a crush on a young artist, but they are cruelly separated when her family is exiled. Meyer exceptionally captures Anastasia’s voice as she matures. The author strikes the right balance between detail and momentum to maintain readers’ attention. This book would be a fine addition to any middle school’s historical fiction collection.
Review in Publishers Weekly:
As she has done in Cleopatra Confesses, Victoria Rebels, and other titles, Meyer imagines the life of a historical royal, this time Anastasia Romanova, the teenage daughter of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. On the cusp of the revolution that will doom her family and its way of life, Anastasia chronicles the last days of their glory, as well as the years leading up to their demise. Meyer is on sure footing with this story, her prose lush with vivid detail. That same attention to historical detail can impede the story’s momentum, but the passage of years and looming war, along with Anastasia’s mischievous spying on her sister Olga’s love life and her thoughts on Father Grigory (aka Rasputin), will entice readers onward. Anastasia’s endearing narrative voice, coupled with her intimate observations of her family and their royal adventures, make her chronological account all the more bittersweet. Meyer chooses not to re-imagine the fate that eventually befalls this Russian princess, giving the novel a tragic and moving end, though an epilogue details the family’s deaths and 21st-century efforts to authenticate their remains.