ANASTASIA by Carolyn Meyer

ANASTASIA

The Last Grand Duchess
Age Range: 9 - 14

KIRKUS REVIEW

Immensely readable and interesting, this fictive diary of Anastasia, daughter of Czar Nicholas and Czarina Alexandra, imparts a good deal of history in an entertaining way. As the diary begins in 1914, 12-year-old Anastasia, the youngest of four sisters and the older sister of Alexei, has the normal complaints and comments of a girl with three older sisters, along with many observations unique to her circumstances and lifestyle. Political events are beginning to impinge even on Anastasia’s very protected life. “There are people who say the peasants are suffering, and blame it on Papa. There are even some people who believe that others should share in the rule of our country!” But life is not just unimaginable luxury for Anastasia and her sisters, although they live in beautiful palaces, travel on private trains, and have a wealth of servants. Aspects of their lives are spartan—the Czar insists they have “a good Russian breakfast” consisting of rye bread and herring every day, the four girls sleep on camp cots that they are required to make themselves each morning, and until recently cold baths were part of the morning routine. Anastasia is aware of the conflict between the notorious Rasputin, whom the Czarina credits with keeping her hemophiliac son Alexei alive, and the Czar, who distrusts and dislikes Rasputin. As WWI begins, Anastasia becomes more and more aware that life for her family is changing. Her diary covers the last five years of her life, taking us from her pampered life as a royal child, through the family’s house arrest in 1917, to their exile in Siberia, and finally, to their murders in Ekaterinburg on July 16, 1918. This is a story that will fascinate children for whom it will open a window into a foreign and bygone world that is not often covered in children’s historical fiction. This will be useful when the curriculum covers 20th-century Russia. Both biography lovers and fiction readers alike will gobble it up. (historical note, family tree, and other endnotes, photos, cast of characters) (Fiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-439-12908-7
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2000




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