Anastasia’s Secret

Written by Susanne Dunlap
Review by Ann Pedtke

Anastasia Romanova, youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, lives a sheltered existence within the palace walls. With little idea of the revolution stirring in her country, she can only trust in her father’s judgment of political right and wrong. But one day, straying into the garden, she meets Misha – a young soldier of the guard who introduces her to the realities of peasant life outside the palace. As the revolution threatens Anastasia and her family, the young duchess turns to Misha for secret comfort and support. But when danger overtakes the Romanovs at last, Anastasia must decide whether to risk escape with the man she loves, or stay loyal to her family and face the trials ahead.

Susanne Dunlap has brought us another engaging young adult novel to follow The Musician’s Daughter. But where The Musician’s Daughter explored a story rarely encountered in historical fiction, Anastasia’s Secret lacks this freshness. The tale of Anastasia Romanova and her fate is a familiar one, and this rendition adds little to the narrative. While Dunlap portrays a sympathetic Romanov family and holds admirably to historical fact, there are few new personalities here. Anastasia remains so tied to her family’s cloistered life that her moral transformation is never quite believable. While her love story is affecting, her eventual fate lies all too inevitably on the horizon.