Review: Romanov by Nadine Brandes

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Romanov by Nadine BrandesRomanov by Nadine Brandes
Published by Thomas Nelson on May 7, 2019
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
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The history books say I died.

They don’t know the half of it.

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them . . . and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of survival are to either release the spell, and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya’s never dabbled in magic before, but it doesn’t frighten her as much as her growing attraction for Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her . . .

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.

“Not even royal blood can stop bullets.”

This book was everything I needed and then some. With a Life/Reading Slump that’s going on 3 years now, it’s difficult to find books I truly enjoy. Even when I DO find books I enjoy, I still struggle to find the time and energy to read them. Typically, it takes me 3-4 weeks to read one book now, whereas I used to read a book every 3-7 days before The Slump. But Romanov? I couldn’t put Romanov down. I read it in less than a week, and I adored every single second of it.

The first half of the book is basically straight-up historical fiction, with a small bit a magic thrown in. I love history and I love the mystery surrounding the execution of the Romanov Family, and whether or not Anastasia escaped. But I really didn’t know much about the Romanov family otherwise, and nothing about Anastasia beyond what we “learned” in the animated movie. So reading about the family’s final months/days in exile was intriguing and educational, but since it was done in a fictional way, it didn’t feel dry or like I was being lectured at. In fact, it’s made me want to read more about this time period!

The second half of the book was where the majority of the magic came into play. It was also where the author divulged from history, and gave us her fictional take on what happened after the Romanov family was executed. This was just as intriguing as the first half of the book – if not more intriguing.

As much as I love the story of Anastasia and LOVED the movie, I haven’t actually read any other Anastasia retellings. I have a bunch on my TBR, and I asked Twitter for recommendations, but I haven’t actually read any. I came to this shocking realization as I was reading, and made this comment: “I really like Nastya – she’s my favorite Anastasia since the Disney one.” – So.. First of all, someone corrected me and told me that the 1997 animated movie wasn’t actually a Disney movie. I don’t care – Anastasia will always rank as a Disney Princess in my eyes. Second of all, I guess that makes Nastya my second favorite incarnation of Anastasia, since this is only the second retelling I’ve read/watched, bahaha. But that aside, I really did love her character – her strength, resilience, and ability to grow from tragedy and forgive the “enemy.”

Zash probably has the biggest character development/growth of anyone in the book – even beyond Nastya. I really don’t want to spoil it so I can’t go into details too much, but I really liked the way his story went.

So, yeah.. I don’t even know what else to say. Except that this book was everything I needed, and is definitely one of my favorites of 2019. I HIGHLY recommend it!