As faithful readers know, I have loved Carolyn Meyer ever since I 'discovered' her work early last Fall. Since then I've sought out as many books as I can by her so I can read them--or devour them. This past week I have read two books, both in The Royal Diaries series. The first, which I'll be reviewing today, is ANASTASIA: THE LAST GRAND DUCHESS.
As you can imagine, ANASTASIA is not a particularly happy book. Knowing that this young princess--or duchess or whatever the title of a tsar's daughter would be--is doomed to a tragic early death as soon as the Revolution begins makes for an interesting read. Not that reading a book called DOOMED QUEEN ANNE was any happier. At least, in this instance, readers can identify and sympathize with this young royal girl. Anastasia was one of four sisters born to the tsar and his German wife. For the most part, her childhood is typical. There's some sibling rivalry. There's the natural wanting to be allowed to play and do whatever one wants without having to follow strict rules and guidelines. Anastasia is presented as a 'natural' girl who doesn't like having to get dressed up and act like a lady. But what one wants to do doesn't always go hand in hand with the duties of being royal. The reader is presented with court life in Russia from 1914 to 1918. Since it is in diary format, thankfully the reader is spared the ordeal of witnessing the execution of the royal family. The reader sees them in captivity, but not going through the slaughter.
The book is well-written, well-researched, and enjoyable. You like Anastasia from the start and her death while not a surprise does still sadden you--at least if you're like me. :) I can only present my reactions to the book. There are photographs of the family, photographs of the castles and landscapes. There are historical notes and epilogues. I was impressed with the book overall. This was not my first Royal Diaries book, but it was my first that had enough research to back it up appropriately in my opinion. The other I read was on a Native American 'princess' going back six to seven hundred years.