Ariel Lawhon has created a masterpiece with "I, Was Anastasia!" In this novel, Lawhon carefully unpacks the story of Anna Anderson and the mystery surrounding her identity. Simultaneously, the author builds the story of Tzarena Anastasia and the life of her royal family in Russia the few short months before their execution.
There were so many things I loved about this book! The structure of the narrative, as well as the anticipation the author creates, made me want to keep reading! I was not very familiar with the story of Anastasia, therefore, I had no idea how the story would end. The most intriguing part of the book was the way the author told the story in two parts. One narrative was moving forward chronologically and the other was moving backwards. It is brilliant!
Lawhon leads the reader on a journey packed with incredible historical details as well as deep emotional moments. I was completely shocked by the ending and the last chapter! My jaw dropped and I read the last chapter over and over letting the conclusion and answer to the mystery sink in. This book inspired me to learn more about this time in Russian history and to me, that is the mark of a great book - inspiration!
Thanks so much, Double Day!
The Madeleine Project is one of the most unique books I have read, given it is a compilation of the author, Clara Beaudoux's, tweets whilst cleaning out the cellar of her new Paris apartment. Upon moving in, Clara discovers the previous owner, Madeleine, who recently passed away, has left the cellar full of personal items. As she begins to go through the boxes and suitcases, Clara slowly learns about Madeleine and the life she lived. Through the letters, postcards and photographs she finds, Clara pieces together a picture of who Madeleine was and the people and places she loved.
I love books about people, especially real people, which is why I read a lot of non fiction and historical fiction. So, this book appealed to me immediately on that level. To me, a good book will inspire me to do something different in my own life or make me think about something in a way I haven't before. This book accomplishes both of those. It inspires me to take more time to get to know the elderly neighbors around me and view them as people with their own interesting history. It also made me think about what my own legacy will be and reflect on what someone would think if they went through my things after I passed away. Madeleine's belongings alone told the story of a joyful, smart, talented and loving person - what other kind of story would we want our lives to tell?
I can't say enough good things about this book and I highly recommend it! Thanks again, New Vessel!