The Pearl of Dubai

Written by Grant Foster
Review by Megan Kitzman

Set in the dramatic months leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917, The Pearl of Dubai is an imaginative tale of how the fabled Grand Duchess Anastasia might have managed to survive her family’s downfall.

Though the common people suffer in St. Petersburg’s streets and the Russian Army seethes with whispers of rebellion, the Romanovs enjoy a life of luxury in the Winter Palace. At a fateful ball, the mischievous Anastasia is told of the town of Dubai in faraway Arabia where beautiful pearls are harvested. Determined to have a great adventure, Anastasia concocts a plan and blackmails her sister Marie and their roguish cousin Dimitri into helping her pull it off. On her trip, Anastasia is joined by a colorful group of guides and protectors, but nothing goes as planned, either in Dubai or back in Russia.

Many of the book’s characters are engaging, if over the top, especially Anastasia’s newfound friend Terrance Hodge, a former “female impersonator” prone to charmingly vulgar remarks, and the major villain of the story, Rasputin. In fact, Anastasia herself, as a young if headstrong girl, tends to get lost in the massive personalities surrounding her.

While the story is highly creative, the book is unfortunately riddled with distracting copy errors. For those obsessed with Anastasia’s story and the many theories surrounding her, this will be an entertainingly fresh take; for others, the poor editing may temper their enjoyment.