Anne has a terrifying recurring dream that she’s trapped in a tiny cabin – that’s she’s someone else. And that someone else happens to be Anastasia Romanov – the youngest daughter of the last Czar of Russia. One day a strange young man appears who tells Anne that it’s her destiny to save Anastasia and tells her an incredible story of one fateful night back nearly 100 years ago.
One fateful night about 7 years ago, I saw the movie Wes Craven’s They which was about teens plagued by night terrors who are dragged away by dark magic that traps them in another plane forever. Since seeing that film, I’ve had my own terrifying dreams of being trapped somewhere tiny and/or dark. (I’ve even had day terrors to this effect when using airplane lavatories).
Anyway, the thought of anyone being trapped anywhere completely freaks me out, so if I really had force myself through some very unsettling (to me) passages. Fortunately, the compelling mix of Russian history, folklore, magic and a smart modern day heroine distracted me enough from my terror to be able to finish the novel.
On a purely superficial level, the story not only holds up, it entertains mightily. We ride along on a wave of action scenes and of characters’ discoveries of how Anne can go about rescuing Anastasia. Anne and Ethan have an “electrifying” chemistry, and there are touching as well as comic relief moments thrown in as well. But if I dig a little deeper and start to ask myself about character motivations, I find myself with some unanswered questions, especially in regards to the “villain” of the novel (and what he does at the end).
Just one more thing – Anastasia writes five letters to her family from her magical prison – and while these give us more insight into her character and important background information, they are presented in an old-fashioned script typeface which is frustratingly difficult to read. It’s a bit better than the chicken scratch my grandmother pens in her letters to me, but not by much.
DREAMING ANASTASIA is available in paperback now. Find out more about it at the author’s website. Also, find a ton of other reviews and some fascinating interviews by checking out the rest of her blog tour stops (scheldule here).
To kick off Book Blogger Appreciation Week, I also have one copy of DREAMING ANASTASIA to give away to one of my readers with a US or Canadian mailing address. If you want it, just tell me in the comments which historical person you’d pick to meet given the chance and what you’d talk about. Contest ends at 11:59 PM on September 19th.