I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon, Doubleday/Penguin Random House, US $26.95, Pp 352, March 2018, ISBN 978-0385541695
The Saint of Wolves and Butchers by Alex Grecian, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, US $27.00, Pp 400, April 2018, ISBN 978-0399176111
Alternate Side: A Novel by Anna Quindlen, Random House/Penguin Random House, US $28.00, Pp 284, March 2018, ISBN 978-0812996067
Young Jane Young: A Novel by Gabrielle Zevin, Algonquin Books, US $15.95, Pp 320, August 2017, ISBN 978-1616208691
Soon after the Soviet Revolution and foundation of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin ordered the secret police to remove the imperial family of Romanovs to a damp basement in Siberia. Among the Romanovs who were moved to Siberia was the Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia. The government later said that they were all executed by a firing squad. This put an end to the Romanov Dynasty as no Romanov survived. In February 1920, a young woman was pulled out of a canal in Berlin. She was almost senseless and unable to explain what she was doing in the freezing canal. She had scars and bruises on her body. It looked like she had been severely tortured. She was taken to the hospital where she survived. When she was finally able to speak, she claimed that she was Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia. Her detractors believed she was making this claim only to win the immense Romanov fortune and insisted on calling her Anna Anderson. As more and more people in Europe learned that Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia had survived, her old enemies became active and new threats were posed to her life again. Is Anna Anderson real Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia? If true, what happened to Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia between she was taken to Siberia and when she was found in the freezing canal in Berlin? I Was Anastasia tells the fifty-year long story of Anna Anderson or Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia. In this brilliantly- written novel, Ariel Lawhon explores the questions of identity. I Was Anastasia is one of those stories we all love to read. Lahon is a gifted storyteller and I Was Anastasia is one of the best historical novels of 2018.
Ariel Lawhon is a critically acclaimed author of historical fiction. Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, and Book of the Month Club selections. She is the co-founder of SheReads.org and lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, four sons, black Lab, and a deranged cat.
Travis Roan travels extensively all over the world in order to hunt down Nazis who have escaped justice. He is always accompanied by his massive Tibetan Mastiff named Bear, who is also his best friend. When Roan and Bear come to rural Kansas, they raise the suspicions of the local law-enforcement who find well-dressed Roan with a mysterious accent enigmatic and suspicious. Roan is in Kansas to find Rudolph Bormann, a Nazi doctor and concentration camp administrator who is hiding in Kansas under the name of Rudy Goodman since 1950s. There is one person among the law-enforcement who is not suspected of Roan, State Trooper Scottie Foster. A local elderly woman who had escaped the concentration where she been forced to work and from where she had escaped, had recently told Scottie Foster about Bormann. Before coming to Kansas, Travis had learned that Bormann had powerful friends who protect him but he did not know that Bormann had also gathered a group of followers who believe he has Godlike powers. State Trooper Skottie Foster is ready to help Travis in order to keep peace in her district but she realizes that she is caught in between Roan and Bormann and that has put her and her family in grave peril. As they close in on Bormann, the local community learns about the man who is, in fact, the saint of wolves and butchers. Alex Grecian has moved away from writing historical fiction to writing contemporary stories. The Saint of Wolves and Butchers is a thriller that is inspired by true stories of Nazis being discovered all over the world at a time when they thought they had escaped. The new characters and historical context make The Saint of Wolves and Butchers extraordinarily thrilling and entertaining. Alex Grecian is writing a sequel to this novel in which the two heroes will be traveling to Alaska to track down a criminal who is hatching a conspiracy. After reading The Saint of Wolves and Butchers, you will anxiously wait for the next one.
Alex Grecian is the nationally bestselling author of The Yard, The Black Country, The Devil’s Workshop, The Harvest Man, and Lost and Gone Forever, as well as the critically acclaimed graphic novels Proof and Rasputin. Grecian lives in Kansas with his wife and son.
Are Nora Nolan and her husband, Charlie, living a happy life? Nora Nolan is not sure about this although she often thinks that they are a happy and perfect couple. They live in New York’s Manhattan, rich but not so rich neighborhood. Like many men and women, Manhattan used to be Nora Nolan’s dream place. The couple lives in a safe and tranquil neighborhood of Manhattan – far from the urban maddening crowd. Of course, there is a strain between Nora and Charlie when there is a crisis at work or something does not work at home or when the twins have issues at the college. In this closely-knit neighborhood, most neighbors have lived for a long time and watch one another’s children grow up. They go to the same grocery stores and supermarkets. So much so, they hire the same handyman. They share their happiness and sorrow with one another. They all have their eyes on the same spot in the block’s small parking lot. All this changes one morning when Nora learns that a terrible incident has shaken the neighborhood and the small neighborhood community stands divided. The incident puts her job at stake and her marriage is coming apart. Anna Quindlen explores modern urban life which can suffer unexpected strains. Anna Quindlen also explores what it means to be a woman in today’s urban environment. It is a disturbing story about class and self-image. Alternate Side is so realistic that many readers will easily relate to Nora Nolan. This is one of those novels that overwhelm you quickly.
Anna Quindlen is a novelist and journalist and the author of nine novels: Object Lessons, One True Thing, Black and Blue, Blessings, Rise and Shine, Every Last One, Still Life with Bread Crumbs, Miller’s Valley, and Alternate Side. Her memoir Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, published in 2012, was a #1 New York Times bestseller. Her book A Short Guide to a Happy Life has sold more than a million copies. While a columnist at The New York Times she won the Pulitzer Prize and published two collections, Living Out Loud and Thinking Out Loud. Her Newsweek columns were collected in Loud and Clear.
Young Jane Young is woven around five women or five stories are woven into one big story. The lives of five women are bound by a sex scandal. Aviva Grossman is an ambitious congressional intern in Florida who is having an affair with her Congressman boss. When Aviva starts blogging about it, both of them take the hit. If the congressman loses the chances of running for president, Aviva is slut-shamed and becomes a late-night talk show punch line. She changes her name and moves to a remote town in Maine. When Aviva runs for public office herself, talk about her affair with the congressman comes to life again on the Internet. In the digital age, the past will always haunt you. Gabrielle Zevin explores some fundamental questions about what it really means to be a woman. Zevin exposes the double standards of our society. Inspired by Monica Lewinsky affair and 2016 presidential elections, Young Jane Young is a quirky feminist novel that will make you smile. It will leave an everlasting impact on you. You may find it light read while you read, once you finish it you will realize it is full of hard ideas. In short, it is a necessary and enjoyable read.
Gabrielle Zevin is the New York Times Best Selling author of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, and author of eight novels. Young Jane Young is her ninth novel.