Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble

What really happened to Anastasia Romanov?

Anastasia Romanov thought she would never feel more alone than when the gunfire started and her family began to fall around her. Surely the bullets would come for her next. But they didn't. Instead, two gnarled old hands reached for her. When she wakes up she discovers that she is in the ancient hut of the witch Baba Yaga, and that some things are worse than being dead.

In modern-day Chicago, Anne doesn't know much about Russian history. She is more concerned about getting into a good college—until the dreams start. She is somewhere else. She is someone else. And she is sharing a small room with a very old woman. The vivid dreams startle her, but not until a handsome stranger offers to explain them does she realize her life is going to change forever. She is the only one who can save Anastasia. But, Anastasia is having her own dreams…


I am a book snob. I had no idea what this book was about, but I saw the cover and I had to read it! Isn't the cover fantastic? It's going to look very nice on my shelves when it gets there. I hate judging a book by its cover, but then I was offered an ARC from Sourcebooks and I had to have it! The story helped, though. It's a reimagining of the very famous Anastasia Romanov story with a fantasy twist. I took history as my minor in university, so I am well aware of what people think happened to Anastasia and what really happened to her. For my history nerd self, I wish she had survived that tragic night and one of the many fakes turned out to be her, but we have to accept that she really did die with the rest of her family in a horrible way. Or, did she? Preble puts a very interesting spin on the story and I think she pulls it off very well!

Anastasia is actually not the main character in the story exactly, though. Anne is the actual main character. She is living in the modern world and she dreams about Anastasia, even if she doesn't necessarily know that at the time. It turns out that she has a very big destiny that has been waiting for her for 100 years. I bet she never thought she was soon going to involved with Baba Yaga and a Russian princess thought to be dead for a very long time. She was just a high school student preparing for college, but she finds out that there is more to herself than she could ever dream about.

Weaving fact and fiction, history and fantasy, Preble writes and engaging novel that will be sure to impress. It took me a while to get into it, but once the story unfolded I found myself very engaged! I wanted to see how all the different elements were going to work out and how she was going to pull everything together in the end. Mainly, though, I wanted to dream that it was possible that Anastasia really had been alive all this time and it just took one teenager to overcome great obstacles and save her. Even if that is not what happens in the book, because nothing is ever as it seems, I wanted to dream a little bit. It reminds me of the cartoon version of the Anastasia story that came out several years ago. Isn't there a song that was really famous about dreaming?

To sum this up, I enjoyed this book. I recommend it for those that love to dream, really. It's a bit of heartwarming story, but it has its dark parts. Anne also has some amazing abilities that you might find interesting. Plus, while this is a standalone novel, it totally has potential to have a sequel.


  1. Sounds interesting - and the cover is just "dreamy"!

  2. I've seen so many great reviews for this one ndefijitely have to add it to the wishlist.

  3. I've never been much into history, but for some reason I have a very (ignorant) interest in Anastasia (the person). Therefore, this book sounds fascinating to me. I can't wait to get my hands on it. I hope I win it since I can't buy it. :D

  4. Oooh, I must read this!

    I had quite a fascination with the Romanovs when I was younger and I like that this mixes in a bit of fantasy with the story of Anastasia. Thanks for the heads up!

  5. I think this is going on my wishlist. I love all things Romanov. And the cover, I'd buy the book for the cover

  6. I guess I'm a book snob too because I love that cover and would've picked it up on that alone. Great review and this is one book that truly interests me!!

  7. I agree- a gorgeous cover! I love the blue :-)

    And the story sounds good, too. Thanks for the heads up!

  8. I'm half-way through this book right now, and will be posting my thoughts about it on Tuesday. :) And yes, it is a LOVELY cover, but really drew me to the book was the fact that Baba Yaga had a part of it, and I do love me some folklore. :)

  9. I like the look of the cover too! I'd pick it up too, if I see it on the shelf!

  10. I'm glad you enjoyed this one! I really want to read it, the premise sounds very interesting and I have always been interesting in Anastasia and her family's history. Great review!

  11. I SO want to read this! Could you be thinking about Once Upon a December? Really need to rewatch that movie.

  12. Just popping by to say thank you for your thoughtful review. Glad you enjoyed! Thanks for being part of the month long blog tour! :) And everyone - feel free to drop by my blog as well.

    Joy Preble, Dreaming Anastasia, Sourcebooks, September 2009


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