Available May 7, 2019
The history books say I died.
They don’t know the half of it.
Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them… and he’s hunted Romanov before.
Nastya’s only chances of survival are to either release the spell, and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya’s never dabbled in magic before, but it doesn’t frighten her as much as her growing attraction for Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her…
That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad… and he’s on the other.
Okay, so as soon as you saw the name Anastasia Romanov, you probably started thinking of animated movie where Meg Ryan voices Anastasia. And any second you’re going to wind up with that catchy lullaby from the movie stuck in your head. Or maybe I’m just showing my age.
This book has very little in common with that children’s movie. Actually, according to the author’s note, the book has a lot more in common with the real history of the Romanov family– with the exception of the magical elements of the story, and obviously, the fact that not all of the Romanov family members die at the hands of their captors.
I liked ROMANOV. Nastya was mischievous and fun and tried very hard to keep her family’s spirits up. I loved her dad’s humble, gentle character and his commitment to showing love for their captors as a part of his personal faith. Once I realized ROMANOV told a more historically accurate version of events, I found myself getting lost in the more unbelievable or amazing parts. Nastya’s sister’s romance with one of the guards, for instance.
Because of the consent issues, I felt uncomfortable with Nastya’s sister’s relationship with one of the guards. It is something that apparently happened in real life. Most of their relationship remains emotional rather than physical. Nastya herself has feelings for one of the guards but keeps telling herself to forget about that.
Overall I liked a lot of things about the book and really enjoyed learning some more about the Romanov family. If you enjoy re-imagined history, like THE RING AND THE CROWN by Melissa de la Cruz, then you’ll probably like ROMANOV.
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
All characters are Russian, some based on true historical figures and others made up. Nastya’s brother has hemophilia.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Kissing between boy and girl. In one instance, the kiss happens between a guard and prisoner.
Lots of references to Iisus, or Jesus. Nastya and her father in particular speak of their faith and how important it is, even as prisoners, to show love to their captors and try to understand their perspective. She prays at some critical moments, but it’s clear she also has a great deal of faith in Rasputin and other spell masters to provide for her family’s needs.
Instances of open cruelty toward Nastya and her family by soldiers. They hear gunshots and learn they mean executions (mostly of people they don’t know, but not always). Nastya witnesses the execution of people does know and love.
The leader of the Romanovs’ captors is very often drunk. Some references to her mother’s and brother’s need for morphine for headaches and severe pain.
Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links which cost you nothing but help support this blog when used to buy books.