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I Was Anastasia Summary & Study Guide

Ariel Lawhon
This Study Guide consists of approximately 72 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of I Was Anastasia.
This section contains 620 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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I Was Anastasia Summary & Study Guide Description

I Was Anastasia Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon.

The following version of the novel was used to create this study guide: Lawhon, Ariel. I Was Anastasia. Anchor, March 27, 2018. Kindle.

In Ariel Lawhon's historical novel I Was Anastasia, Anna Anderson defends her attempt to prove herself to be Anastasia Romanov, a member of the last Imperial family to rule in Russia. Anna argues that without her, Anastasia Romanov would never have become a legendary figure. Lawhon tells the stories of both Anastasia and Anna in ways that are sympathetic to both women. She even manages to draw her reader into the possibility that Anna is who she claims to be.

Lawhon presents the stories of both Anastasia and Anna in a non-linear form. She alternates between sections of Anastasia’s story and sections of Anna’s story. The novel ends at the point where Anastasia’s family is slaughtered. A few years later, Anna claims that she is Anastasia.

Lawhon details approximately the last eighteen months of Anastasia’s life, the months in which her family was first held under house arrest in Alexander Palace. The family was then exiled to Siberia. Anastasia describes how their situation becomes more and more desperate as they are first watched in Siberia by sympathetic guards who allow them a certain amount of freedom, including a trip to church on Christmas. When the Bolsheviks take control of Russia, most of the sympathetic guards are replaced. Eventually, the family is transferred to Ekaterinburg where they are confined to close quarters.

Despite Anastasia’s situation, she still has the opportunity to learn some important lessons about life. She falls in love with one of the soldiers who is employed to guard them. This soldier protects her from being raped the night that her sisters are violated by the soldiers. He also tries to get her to leave with him when he learns that her family will be executed. Anastasia’s loyalty to her family, however, will not allow her to save herself and keep her family from being slaughtered. Anastasia is still alive when the bodies of her family are dumped in the Four Brothers Mine.

Anna Anderson’s story begins as she and her husband, Jack, await a report from the Hamburg court as to whether her appeal has been accepted or rejected. Prince Frederick reports that the court cannot determine if she is or is not Anastasia. The appeal was Anna’s final chance to be acknowledged as an heir to the Romanov fortune. From this point, Lawhon works backward through the people who have used Anna’s claims that she is Anastasia to their own benefit. Benefactors have faked loyalty sometimes hoping to disprove her claims, sometimes hoping that she would be recognized as royalty so they might be rewarded.

Anna’s story also includes the slaughter of the animals that lived with her at her cottage in Unterlengenhardt, Germany. Prince Frederick ordered the animals killed because he considered them a threat to Anna’s health.

Anna attempted to visit Princess Irene to prove her identity, but she failed. Anna spent time in a mental hospital where she refused to tell her true identity. By the conclusion of the novel, the reader finally learns that Anna Anderson was Franziska Annalie Schanzkowska, a woman who was injured when a grenade exploded in a munitions factory where she worked. Franziska had just learned her husband was killed in war. Months later, Franziska gave birth to her husband’s baby, but the infant was taken from her because she was a widow with no job. Anna argues that with her life taken from her, pretending to be Anastasia was the best chance for her to have a life and a future.

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This section contains 620 words
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