Saturday, August 27, 2011

Review: Anastasia's Secret - Susanne Dunlap

Synopsis: For Anastasia Romanov, life as the privileged daughter of Russia's last tsar is about to be torn apart by the bloodshed of revolution. Ousted from the imperial palace when the Bolsheviks seize control of the government, Anastasia and her family are exiled to Siberia. Yet even while the rebels debate the family's future with agonizing slowness, and while the threat to their lives grows more menacing, romance quietly blooms between Anastasia and Sasha, a sympathetic young guard she has known since childhood. But will the strength of a love that exists in secret be enough to save Anastasia from a tragic fate?

Review: I am having trouble, even now, after several weeks since reading this book, in formulating my thoughts about this story. On the one hand, it is very interesting - what book isn't, when it concerns Anastasia Romanov? But on the other hand, it was massively disappointing. The majority of the first half is good - Susanne Dunlap presents the Reader with her usual rich descriptions and complex characters. But I quickly became frustrated with Anastasia's lack of political knowledge (though this is probably not an entirely inaccurate portrayal), and Sasha, her love interest, goes from a pleasant sort of fellow to downright vexing. His contempt for Anastasia's ignorance and always calling her a child is irritating, because he does nothing to enlighten her on what is going on, and then getting mad at her when she expresses her ignorance.

Content quickly spirals downhill from there, when the Author begins to describe French kissing in pretty thorough detail, characters grope each other, and then there is finally a bed scene in Chapter 21, page 203. While it is not horribly detailed, it is suggestive enough of what is happening to make it wildly inappropriate, and I actually found it rather disrespectful towards Anastasia's memory to have her sleep with someone. Thankfully, however, the Reader can avoid the majority of these nasty details - skip the parts where Sasha and Anastasia meet up, and enjoy the rest of the book, because all other occurrences in the story are interesting.

It is unfortunate that the Author put in so much lustfulness; Anastasia's Secret could have been both a good wartime novel and a good love story, were it not so bogged down with physical pleasure. When I think back on this book, I can only think disappointing thoughts.

Overall Rating: 

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