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Anastasia: The Last Grand Duchess, Russia, 1914 (2000)

Anastasia: The Last Grand Duchess, Russia, 1914 (2000)
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3.86 of 5 Votes: 2
ISBN
0439129087 (ISBN13: 9780439129084)
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English
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scholastic
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Anastasia: The Last Grand Duchess, Ru...
Anastasia: The Last Grand Duchess, Russia, 1914 (2000)

About book: ”She undoubtedly held the record for punishable deeds in her family, for in naughtiness she was a true genius”- Gleb BotkinSetting:Russia; 1914-1918Coverly Love?:Yes! Once again, Tim O’Brien did a gorgeous illustration for this series. Plot:Anastasia and her sisters Olga, Tatiana and Marie are living a charmed life in the Russian court. Her father Nicholas II is tsar of all of Russia, and she and her sisters are the pampered, adored princesses. Along with their brother Alexei and mother Alexandra, they live an idyllic existence complete with balls, grand palaces and vacations to the seaside. Unfortunately, the happy times for them don’t last. Alexei has a life threatening condition that constantly put their life on hold, war enters their lives, and slowly but surely, the royal family is becoming unpopular throughout Russia. With so much at stake, will Anastasia and her sisters find a way to keep their optimistic attitudes? Or will the hardships and trials they face overcome them?Aside from the British royal family, I would argue that Nicholas II and his family are the most talked about and fascinating royals in modern history. Their seemingly charmed beginning life and their tragic, untimely demise has captivated the world for more than a century. In this book, we see life in the Romanov court through the eyes of their youngest (and probably most famous daughter), Anastasia. It really is shocking to see how her life, and that of her family’s, changed so drastically. One minute they’re loved and adored by the public; the next, they’re reviled and kicked off the throne. It’s one of the reasons why they’re so fascinating. Another reason is that the girl’s themselves come off as so relatable. Carolyn Meyer captures their youthful innocence and naivety so well here. Anastasia is the spunkiest sister of the four, and it was wonderful to read from her playful, spunky perspective. Characters:There’s a reason Anastasia is the most fascinating sister of the four. Not only is there the mystery of her potential survival, she is the spunkiest, mischievous and most spirited of the quartet. In an era when princesses were expected to be prim, proper and poised, Anastasia had none of that. She didn’t give a hoot whether or not she made fun of some of the most famous people in Russia, skated and biked throughout the royal palace, and preferred climbing trees to tea and crumpets. At times she can be a bit whiny, immature and indifferent to the suffering Russia and her family are going through, but she grows a lot throughout the book, which makes it all the more worthwhile. I loved how she tried to cheer everyone up if they were sad, and tried to make the best of situations. The best thing about the four sisters is that they all have wonderfully distinct personalities. Olga is the quiet, sullen reserved oldest sister who has more interest in reading books then finding a suitable husband. Tatiana is the most beautiful of her sisters and her mother’s favorite, but also kind of bossy. And Marie (Mashka) was the sweetest, always a kind word handy. She also wants to get married to a Russian soldier and have 20 children. Alexei is the baby of the family and the only boy. Nicknamed “Baby” and “Sunbeam”, he’s a very rambunctious and active boy. Unfortunately for him, this can lead to all sorts of problems. Because poor Alexei has hemophilia, and every little cut or bruise can be life-threatening. This hinders Alexei a lot when it comes to being a normal boy, as he wants so desperately to do all the activities little boys can normally do. He’s also clearly babied by the entire family, especially his mother. He has the tendency to act like a spoiled little brat, but he gets away with most everything since he’s the next ruler of Russia.Nicholas and Alexandra are Anastasia’s parents and the rulers of Russia. While they are very loving parents and truly care about the Russian people, they probably were in over their heads when it came to ruling the country. The author specifically states that Nicholas was not prepared or wiling to rule the vast Russian empire. And Alexandra was considered an outsider by the Russian public because she was German. She also didn’t like going out in public and going to parties, which were considered a vital part of Russian upper-crust society. She also was brainwashed by Grigory Rasputin, the holy man the supposedly healed the sick Alexei. In my opinion, I truly think that they were unequipped to deal with such a big burden on their shoulders. Pros:Carolyn Meyer vividly captures royal life in the Russian court, and makes it fascinating to read about. And it almost felt like it was an intimate look inside the Romanov family. Cons:Two words; underlining overload. Every time Anastasia would get exasperated, frustrated, or every other emotion in between, she would underline the phrase. Personally, I thought this was a bit overkill. Also, she had a tendency to use the word appalled far too frequently. If you took a shot every time she (or one of her family members, for that matter), said appalled, you’d get roaring drunk. Love Triangle?:Nope!Instalove?:Nope!A Little Romance?:Anastasia herself doesn’t get involved with anyone, but her sisters have little crushes. Marie has a little romance with a Russian soldier, but it doesn’t go anywhere. Conclusion:Towards the story, you’re hoping, somehow, that the outcome will be different than the actual reality. Unfortunately, the ending to this story ends just as it did in real life. One has to wonder what kinds of women these sisters would become if they had lived. There’s a reason the Romanov sisters are still talked about to this day; there’s such an air of mystery surrounding not only their untimely death, but their life as well. Overall, Carolyn Meyer manages to capture and maintain the romantic, larger than life image these girls had over the population of Russia and all over the world. Read This!:There are probably hundreds of books dedicated to the Romanov family. Perhaps the best book out there pertaining to the sisters is The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra by Helen Rappaport.

CHECKED OUT THE BOOK FROM MY PUBLIC LIBRARY.Review/Rating:4 out of 5The story of the very last Grand Duchess of Russia, Anastasia, told through a fictionalized diary by Carolyn Meyer in the Royal Diaries series/line.Let's start with what urged me to check it out from the library. I decided to checked it out because I just love The Royal Diary series and the Dear America series since I love historical fiction. :DI know this is for middle school and below, so it won't have all the elements that a young adult or adult book will have, so I will try not to go into the lack of details. For a middle school book, it does have the right amount of details and big words. Though, the one thing I can't forgive is how the diary entries are so out of place in the beginning that it is actually kind of boring, but it gets interesting once War World I starts up. Once those entries show up, it isn't that boring since they come pretty much in order and you can make sense of it. Yeah, so that is only thing I really don't like about the book, and that is the only reason why it is a 4 star instead of a 5 star. ;)Now for the things I loved. I just loved how you can tell the author did her research over the matter, and she tried to keep it as accurate as she possibly can. Also, you can almost imagine how it might of felt like to live during World War I as Anastasia --- or, maybe, as any young, rich noble girl in Russia. Second thing I loved is that you can almost sense almost the kind of personality Anastasia might of have --- the mischievousness and playfulness almost pop out of the pages. And like all the Royal Diaries, I like the history notes, pictures, and other information the books usually come with. Also, I like how both the Royal Diaries and the Dear America books are pretty much fast reads --- I finished this one in pretty much 1-2 days. :D Oh, I also love the historical aspects of the books. :)While like with most of the Royal Diaries or Dear America books, if you know the history, it already kind of spoils it, but what really makes these books special is how the authors in those series can pull off how a young teenager might have felt during that time and give that person a personality you can imagine relating to. So, despite being an adult, I still enjoy these book series because of the history and the other things I mentioned above.
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Reviews
Josie
Although this covers a period of four years, Anastasia-at-12 sounds exactly the same as Anastasia-at-16 -- i.e. childish and ignorant. I like characters to at least have SOME kind of growth/journey, but Anastasia remained a brat throughout. I guess we were supposed to think she was cute, snooping through her sisters' things (including their diaries) but she came across as completely self-centred. It made me wonder why she was so often referred to as the favourite in the family, when her portrayal in this book was far from flattering. I would've much preferred to read about one of the older girls! Olga or Tatiana, with their worries about being married off to a foreign prince and having to leave Russia, and their war work as nurses, would have been infinitely more interesting. Idk, maybe that's because I'm an adult? But when the Romanov family are imprisoned in the House Of Special Purpose, Anastasia says: "What is there to write when there's nothing to write?" I found this really frustrating, because I wanted to know more details of what it was like in the house and how she felt, as a teenage girl, having no privacy or freedom, with a very uncertain future hanging over her head. But no, she sounded just as childlike as at the beginning of the book.Also, how unsubtle was the foreshadowing? I lost count of how many times Anastasia would write something along the lines of, "HMMM, THAT RASPUTIN BLOKE, HE'S A BIT SHADY... The public hate and mistrust him, and find his inexplicable closeness to the royal family suspicious -- but Mama trusts him, so he must be a Saint!"
Amber
I really love these books, and I was stoked when I found this at Half Price Books. THERE WAS A WHOLE TWO FREAKIN SHELFS HOLY COW. YOU KNOW WHERE IMMA GO FOR MY BIRTHDAY. Anyway, this book was amazing. I had such a good time reading it, and it really gave me a break from finals. I also enjoyed the fact that, for pretty much the first time, I understood certain things that were happening in the book. Normally when I read these books I don't have a clue of what's happening, but I studied Russia and WW1 for two years back to back, so I was stoked to see familiar names. (For example: Lenin, Toltsky, Putin, most of the Romanov family (specifically the tsars mentioned), Rasputin, etc. And I was happy to understand some of the Russian words in there before it was explained.All in all, you should check out this book, along with the other Royal Diaries and Dear America books. They are a great source of historical fiction and will more than likely get children interested in history, or maybe just hist. fiction. I mean, that's what it did for me as a kid.
Rachel Jackson
I recently rediscovered this book, and almost the entire Royal Diaries series, in my parents' basement, so I decided to look at them all again, and, unsurprisingly, this remains my favorite of them all. (Carolyn Meyer, along with Kristiana Gregory, were my favorites of that series' authors.) I tried to read it without the knowledge I have on the Romanov dynasty, its downfall and the Russian revolution, which was difficult, but it made realize that this book is a very good primer for explaining the real accuracies of that time period. But it's worth noting that this book, too, was one of the early sources of inspiration and fascination for me to read more scholarly books on the Romanovs. So it definitely left a big enough impression to expand on.Predictably, Anastasia: The Last Grand Duchess is a fictional account of the last few years of her short life, from her last carefree days with her family to the hardships of war and, ultimately, exile. Meyer does a great job conveying Anastasia's legitimate personality across in her interactions and relationships with her family and servants — and even the way Meyer-as-Anastasia writes.I did feel the ending was a bit rushed — which seems to be the case in most of these Royal Diaries books, for some reason. The most interesting part of Anastasia's life was the last part of it, when she becomes more aware of the war and the opposing forces against her family. The October Revolution was merely a diary entry, instead of a huge political event that altered her family's status even more than it already was at that point. Surely the Romanovs, even Anastasia, heard about that from Tobolsk, and I would have liked for the end to be more slowed down, especially if they predicted their fate at all. I get that this is a children's book, but I think it would have been prudent for the Romanov children to understand. It's like what Meyer wrote Alexei saying about sensing they wouldn't be back in Livadia. They know what's going on, and today's kids are capable of understanding that, too.
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