A book to avoid - rant ahead
Today I read and skimmed through a book called “Anastasia” by Colin Falconer. And I was aghast.
Because, ladies and gentlemen, this awful piece of lurid fiction made me both outraged, confused and outraged again. Before we delve into everything wrong, let me just state that HISTORICAL FICTION dealing with REAL peronalities who have been WELL DOCUMENTED should, at least, RESPECT the truth that is easily researched and confirmed by a FRIGGIN GOOGLE SEARCH! Mr. Falconer did not do any research. Or if he did, he probably printed his notes and used them as toilet paper. Otherwise I cannot imagine how this abomination of a book was allowed to take shape at all! This publication is nothing but rape of history, far beyond any tasteful and acceptable line of what should one be allowed when writing about REAL people.
I read first 160 pages, after which I skimmed the rest, not having strentght left to go into detail. The writing is sloppy, disjointed and without any artistic quality that would make it stand out. Within the first forty pages you shall encounter these innacurate things, which could be EASILY PREVENTED by just going on Wikipedia!
1) In the beginning the four daughters of the Tsar and their brother are arriving into Ekaterinburg to be reunited with their parents. - In reality Grand Duchess Maria had arrived with her parents months before.
2) “Nurse” Sofia Karlovna mentioned in the book was NOT A NURSE. She was a Lady-in-waiting and she was never even allowed to get out of that train to say her goodbyes. Furthermore nickname “Shura” is used for her, when that was in fact the nickname of the ACTUAL nurse (and by that time MAID) Alexandra Tegleva.
3) Anastasia being RUDE and PROVOKING the Red guards (who in their turn are all unthinking, disgusting animals)
4) The girls constantly being talked about as PRINCESSES. The title was GRAND DUCHESS.
5) Anastasia saying “I AM A PRINCESS AND TILL THIS DAY I HAVE NEVER HAD TO CARRY MY OWN STUFF” when in fact all the imperial children, even before the revolution, would engage in physical work including cleaning their rooms, sawing wood and breaking ice in the spring, not to mention their work in hospitals during the war.
6) Jemmy was Anastasia´s. Tatiana had another dog, Ortipo. And there was yet another dog in the family, Alexei´s Spaniel Joy.
7) The behaviour of the guards in the house is SEVERELY exaggarated (yes there was a guard on duty when they went to the loo but NO the door was not dismantled! NO, Avdeyed did NOT curse in front of the Tsar.
8) Nicholas NEVER LOST HIS COOL, but in the book he is repeatedly RUDE and commanding the guards who in their turns call him slurs in the face.
9) Anastasia hates Alexei because he is such a burden and she is jealous of him! In reality she was his closest friend, loved him unconditionally.
10) There are NO relationships between anyone in the family apparently. Much like there is NOTHING that would scream “relationship” later among the fictional people. But we KNOW that the last Imperial family was EXTREMELY CLOSE and loving.
10) Tatiana is ambushed during her nightly visit to the toilet and RAPED but that is just about it, it leads nowhere, no plot point. THIS NEVER HAPPENED!!!! NONE OF THE GIRLS WAS MOLESTED BY THE RED GUARDS!!! And this whole thing is USELESS!!!!
11) Anastasia is a provokateur who acuses her father of everything being his fault TO HIS FACE. (WTF???!!!)
12) Alexandra is mentioned to be “same age as Nicholas”. In fact she was four years his junior.
13) On the night of the murder there are people in the streets because the shooting can be heard all over the city apparently. In fact the streets were empty and the Bolsheviks made sure of that
14) Also there are many quotations about Anastasia - some of which I recognized as genuine, but many are simply made up - including several mentioning that she was a devil and deserved to die - but it is NEVER pointed out they are made up!!!!!
15) Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna in the 20s is meantioned as “unhappy” and fat “spinster”. In fact she was a trim and content, wedded to Captain Kulikovsky, and mother of two.
16) Grand Duke Kyril is Tsar´s brother in the book. He was his cousin.
17) Grand Duke Ernst of Hesse (brother of the last Empress) wants to be Tsar of Russia. WTF??!!! He was a German princeling with NO claim. And he NEVER EVER wanted to be the Tsar.
18) And I forgot this thing: Alexei Nikolaevich DEMANDS a chocolate from a guard, is NASTY and RUDE to him and when the guard is provoked Nagorny stops him from harming Alexei, for which he is taken away and shot. In reality Nagorny did not want to let a guard steal a little golden cross from the boy. For THAT he was taken away. But in this book Anastasia does not forget to BLAME ALEXEI for Nagorny´s death.
I just could not go on…. This book is TRASH of the lowest order. Authors need to STOP USING THE ROMANOVS AS PLOT DEVICE IF THEY ARE NOT EVEN GOING TO TRY TO PORTRAY THEM AS THEY WERE.
If you want to read decent and good Romanov fiction, just read these: The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar The Lost Crown or even better the non-fiction like Nicholas and Alexandra or Romanov Autumn: Stories from the Last Century of Imperial Russia