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Dreaming Anastasia: A Novel of Love, Magic, and the Power of Dreams

Dreaming Anastasia: A Novel of Love, Magic, and the Power of Dreams

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Dreaming Anastasia: A Novel of Love, Magic, and the Power of Dreams

3.5/5 (30 évaluations)
308 pages
5 heures
Sep 1, 2009


What really happened to Anastasia Romanov?

Anastasia Romanov thought she would never feel more alone than when the gunfire started and her family began to fall around her. Surely the bullets would come for her next. But they didn't. Instead, two gnarled old hands reached for her. When she wakes up she discovers that she is in the ancient hut of the witch Baba Yaga, and that some things are worse than being dead.

In modern-day Chicago, Anne doesn't know much about Russian history. She is more concerned about getting into a good collegeuntil the dreams start. She is somewhere else. She is someone else. And she is sharing a small room with a very old woman. The vivid dreams startle her, but not until a handsome stranger offers to explain them does she realize her life is going to change forever. She is the only one who can save Anastasia. But, Anastasia is having her own dreams

Sep 1, 2009

À propos de l'auteur

Joy Preble is a Texas girl who grew up in Chicago and a former high school teacher who now writes full-time, which means she gets paid for making up stuff. No one has ever left her mysterious notes. She is, however, a fan of cross-country road trips. Joy is also the author of the Dreaming Anastasia series and the Sweet Dead Life series.

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Dreaming Anastasia - Joy Preble


The Forest, Late Evening,


I didn’t always dream about my family. Still, they haunted me for the longest time. Their smiles. Their voices. How they looked when they died. But of all the things I remember, the strongest memory is a story.

Of the stories my mother told me, only one did I love hearing over and over. I had not known it would become my story—the one I would live day after day. Here in the small hut with its tiny windows and smooth, wooden floor. The small bed in which I sleep, its blue and red cotton quilt tucked neatly around me. My matroyshka nestled on the soft goose-down pillow. The matroyshka —the doll my mother gave me near the end, the one she told me to hold tight, even though she knew I was seventeen and far, far too old for such things. A wooden nesting doll, its figure repeated itself smaller and smaller, each hidden inside the other, the last one so tiny it almost disappeared in the palm of my hand.

I understand now what it is to be hidden like that—so tucked away that no one even knows I am here.

In the story, there was a girl. Her name was Vasilisa, and she was very beautiful. Her parents loved her. Her life was good. But things changed. Her mother died. Her father remarried. And the new wife—well, she wasn’t so fond of Vasilisa. So she sent her to the hut of the fearsome witch Baba Yaga to fetch some light for their cabin. And that was supposed to be that. For no one returned from Baba Yaga’s. But Vasilisa had the doll her dying mother gave her. And the doll—because this was a fairy tale and so dolls could talk—told her what to do. Helped her get that light she came for and escape. And when Vasilisa returned home, that same light burned so brightly that it killed the wicked stepmother who sent Vasilisa to that horrible place. Vasilisa remained unharmed. She married a handsome prince. And lived happily ever after.

When I listened to my mother tell the story, I would pretend I was Vasilisa the Brave. In my imagination, I heeded the advice of the doll. I outwitted the evil Baba Yaga, the fearsome witch who kept her enemies’ heads on pikes outside her hut. Who rode the skies in her mortar and howled to the heavens and skittered about on bony legs. Who ate up lost little girls with her iron teeth.

But the story was not as I imagined. Not as my mother told it. I am not particularly brave. And it was not an evil stepmother who sent me to this hut in the forest. I came because I believed him . The man I trusted with all my heart. The one who told me I was special. That I alone would save the Romanovs by letting him save me.

Oh, yes, I believed. Even as the Bolsheviks forced us to the house in Ekaterinburg. Even as I sewed jewels into my clothing so no one would find them. And even on that July day when we were all herded like cattle down into that basement.

Because that is what seventeen-year-old girls do. They believe.

But that was all so long ago. At least, I think it was. In the hut, it is hard to say. Time works differently here. We are always on the move. The two hen’s legs that support the hut are always scrabbling for a new destination. Keeping us from whoever might be searching. If anyone still cares to search.

At first, I thought I’d go mad. And perhaps I have. But most days, I convince myself that I do not mind it so much. I sweep and sew and fill the kettle in the fireplace and bring sweet, hot tea to Auntie Yaga. Auntie, who rocks in her chair, her black cat settled in her lap, and smiles with those great iron teeth—and sometimes, as my mother did, tells stories.

They don’t really know me, Auntie says. She takes a long sip of tea and clasps the cup with two huge, brown, gnarled hands. It is those hands that scare me most—that have always scared me—and so my heart skitters in my chest. The fear is less now than it used to be, but its fingers still run along my belly until I want to scream and scream even though I know now that it will make no difference. That what I did, that what brought me here, made no difference. But that, of course, is yet another story.

They say they know what evil is, Auntie Yaga continues. But they do not. They think it is all so very simple. That I am a witch, and that is that. But it is not as they tell it. I am not what they think I am.

Listening to Auntie Yaga now, I really do understand. None of it is simple. It is not like the stories my mother told. Not like what he told me.

You will save them, Anastasia, he said. You just need to be brave. I’ll take care of the rest.

Only that wasn’t simple either. Or perhaps it was. A simple revolution. A simple set of murders. My family, destroyed one by one in front of my eyes. Their screams. Their cries for mercy. And a storm in a room where no storm could exist. A thick, black cloud that deepened and swirled and cracked open the ceiling. A giant pair of hands—the same hands that now clutch a cup of sweet tea—that closed about me and carried me here. And suddenly, I knew how not simple it all really was.

Downtown Chicago,

One Week Ago

Sunday, 1:40 pm


I don’t notice him looking at me. Not right away. I mean, by the time Tess and I hike our way up to row 16, seats D and E, of the nosebleed section and squeeze past everyone else who’s already seated—because, obviously, they have their own transportation and don’t have to wait for my father to get done with his Sunday morning golf game to drive them downtown for the matinee of Swan Lake —it’s almost curtain time.

So we’re already at our seats before I feel some sort of weird, prickly tingling on the back of my neck and turn around to find him standing there staring.

I elbow Tess. Look behind us, I whisper. That guy. The tall one wearing the blazer. He’s watching us.

Guy? Tess is not whispering. Tess never whispers. I’m not sure she actually can. Where? She cranes her neck in the wrong direction.

Tess is many things. Subtle is not one of them.

God, Tess. Lower your voice. About four rows behind us. To the left.

Not us, she says when she finally figures out where to look. You. He’s staring at you, Anne. And he’s wicked hot.

I narrow my eyes at her as we plop down in our seats. You promised, I say. I mean, seriously, Tess. No human being uses that word so much. Not to mention we’re in Chicago, not Boston. So enough already.

Sorry, she says—although she’s grinning, so I’m pretty sure she’s not. Tess visited her Boston cousins this summer and has developed a single-minded devotion to the Bostonism wicked . As in, "That test was wicked hard. That pair of jeans is wicked cute. Heather Bartlett—who sleeps with any guy who can fog a mirror—is wicked slutty."

Or, "Using a word so much that you kill the effect is wicked annoying."

Besides, I’m not sure I agree with her anyway. He’s cute and all, and the blazer look works on him, but he’s standing so still and looking at us so closely that I’m thinking stalker might be a better description than hot . And anyway, I’m surprised Tess thinks so. Tess is usually more about the piercings and the tattoos—the whole bad boy thing.

I sneak another look.

Stalker guy’s no bad boy. At least not the parts of him I can see. He’s about my age, maybe a little older. And he’s tall, a little over six feet or so, with this shaggy, brown hair that he really should brush off his forehead. He’s wearing khaki pants and a white shirt topped with the brown corduroy blazer. Pretty normal, other than the fact that he’s a guy and he’s at a ballet and he’s alone. Not that I’m judging or anything.

But the thing is, he’s still watching me. Okay, make that openly staring. And even from here, I can see that his eyes are this fierce, startling blue.

I stare back. He’s not flirting. But he’s not dropping his gaze either. And for a second, it feels a little more dangerous than flirting. More like crazy reckless.

And then honestly, because I’m me and not my best friend, Tess—who’s blond and tall and has guys trailing after her like puppies—I’m just sort of irritated. Why can’t some normal guy find me attractive? Someone who just wants to go for coffee at Java Joe’s and maybe to a movie or something and not stare at me until I can actually feel my face getting a little warm?

Do we know him? I ask Tess.

She shakes her head. Don’t think so, she says as the lights dim, the music cues up, and Swan Lake begins.

I swivel in my seat to look at Mr. Blue Eyes again, but the auditorium is so dark that all I can see is his silhouette, which is pretty neutral on the hot or not scale.

On stage, handsome Prince Siegfried falls in love with the beautiful but doomed Odette. By intermission, they’ve danced their pas de deux, and old Sieg has promised to save Odette from her midnight-to-dawn swan enchantment—even though I seriously want to tell her to fly off and find some other guy who’ll actually manage to help her. I’ve seen Swan Lake before. Twice—because even though I hate the ending, there’s just something about it that makes me want to see it again. So I know the evil Rothbart has enchanted Odette. And that all Siegfried has to do is vow eternal love for her to break the spell.

Only come the end of intermission, he’ll screw it up, just like always. Rothbart will enchant his own daughter, Odile, to look like Odette, and stupid Siegfried is gonna fall for it. He’ll pledge his love for the wrong girl, Odette will stay doomed, and the only way out of the whole mess will be for Siegfried to die for her.

I mean, come on—how stupid is this guy that he can’t tell a black swan costume from a white one?

The house lights flick on. Tess and I look behind us. Staring guy is gone.

Too bad. Tess rummages through the little plaid Burberry bag she’d recently snagged from her mother’s closet. She fishes out bronze lip gloss and applies some to her already sufficiently glossed lips.

His loss, she says as we snake our way to the lobby so I can plunk down four dollars for a miniscule plastic cup of Diet Coke. Mr. Stealthy just doesn’t know what beautiful little birdies he’s missing out on. She flutters her way—swan style—to the concession stand.

I grin. Encouraged, she flutters some more.

Enough, I tell her. If I don’t, the fluttering will go the same way as the whole wicked thing, and pretty soon, she’ll be fluttering everywhere because she figures I think it’s funny.

Tight-ass. Tess makes a face. And ooh, that reminds me. I wonder if he has one. She waggles her eyebrows at me. You so want to know. Admit it.

I just shake my head. I’m not admitting anything. Besides, he’d never turned around.

You know you do. Tess grabs my cup and helps herself to a few swallows. Translate—she gulps down the rest of it.

Whatever. I hold out my hand for my empty cup, sigh, and toss it into the nearby trash can. It’s not like we’re ever going to see him again.

You just never know, Tess tells me as the house lights blink. You just never know.

Sunday, 1:50 pm


I know I’m too close. That I need to be careful. That I should look away.

But I don’t.

She brushes some of her auburn hair out of her eyes, then leans over and whispers to the tall blond girl next to her. And then, as though she feels my gaze, she turns.

She’s the one, I realize as we look at each other. After all these years, after all the times I’ve been wrong. This sixteen-year-old girl with the laughing brown eyes and the posture of a prima ballerina—she’s the one.

Of course, there is only one way for me to know for sure. Until then, I can only go on instinct. And here, two weeks after I’ve first begun to follow her, that instinct is telling me I’m right.

Her instincts are telling her something too. Even in the darkness once the lights have dimmed, I know she is still looking at me, still wondering why I’m looking at her.

And for a few seconds, Brother Viktor’s words echo in my mind.

There will be a girl, he had told me. I was not called Ethan then, but Etanovich. The books say she will bear our bloodline. She will be young, and she will be fiery. She will not know her destiny. But when you look into her eyes, when you touch her, the signs will be clear. You will know she is the one.

Just before intermission, I slip away. To stay now that Anne—that is her name, Anne, which surprised me at the same time as it seemed fitting—had seen me would be too dangerous.

So I will just keep watching. Soon it will be time to find her again. Time to know for sure if what the documents say is true. Time to know if my long, long wait is finally about to end.

Sunday, 7:30 pm


Thanks for the pizza, Tess says to my mother. She’s flopped next to me on the family-room floor, her empty plate in front of her.

Sure thing, sweetie. From her seat on the couch, my mom gives Tess a smile, then goes back to watching whatever it is she’s watching on the Travel Channel—something about the top-ten romantic getaways, which is a bit of a stretch these days since my parents aren’t exactly on a romance kick. My father is currently out on his post-dinner jog while my mother is curled up on the couch with the show.

The two of us—Tess and I, that is, since both my parents are avoiding wheat, and pizza is far off their list—just chowed our way through most of a medium Lou Malnati’s cheese and tomato. This means we’ll be sluggish and heavy when we tie on those pointe shoes tomorrow afternoon at Miss Amy’s, where we’re both in advanced ballet—but Lou’s pizzas are worth it.

At least that’s the story I’m telling myself.

But I’ve got some kind of crazy nervous energy zipping through me, and I think my metabolism is going to take care of most of the excess calories anyway. I’ve felt this way ever since Swan Lake that afternoon. The feeling stayed with me on the drive home from the city and didn’t even go away when Tess and I worked on our world history homework while we waited for my dad to come back with the pizza. Which surprised me, because normally, world history is not exactly a subject that makes me do handsprings. Not that I don’t like knowing about the stuff. I actually do. But Coach Wicker—who pretends to teach the class when he’s not too busy figuring out football plays on the computer—is the most singularly boring individual I’ve ever met. He can take something that I find interesting—like, say, Henry VIII and all those wives—and turn it into something so ridiculously dull that suddenly, I can’t remember which wife he divorced and which one he had beheaded, and I really don’t care in any case.

She looks good, Tess says after we’ve carried our plates into the kitchen and I’m wiping up the stray strands of cheese that dripped to the counter when I plated up the pizza from its Lou to-go box.


Tess frowns. Who do you think?

Oh. I realize she means my mother. Really?

Yeah, Tess says. Not so thin, maybe. Not so—I don’t know, fragile.

I shrug. Maybe, I tell her.

It’s something I try not to dwell on. Not that I’m successful at it or anything. But I do try, just like I’ve been trying for almost two years, and sometimes, it is getting better. Except for the part where my older brother, David, is no longer my older brother, because he’s dead from cancer, and the rest of us—my mother, my father, and me—are still trying to pick up the pieces.

Which is why it helps to have a friend like Tess who can shift from where she’s been—talking about how my mother barely eats anything these days—to where she heads now, so quickly, actually, that it takes a few seconds before I catch up with her.

Well, anyway, Tess says. It’s one of her favorite ways to jump topics. He really was hot, wasn’t he?

" He who?"

Ballet guy, she says. Thick hair. Blue eyes. Serious studly goodness going on there.

I shrug again. I guess, I tell her. But that whole staring thing—what was up with that?

"Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t diminish him on the hotness scale. Note, by the way, how I did not just say wicked hot? "

Progress. That’s good. Maybe you do have a learning curve.

Funny. You are oh so funny, Annie. But I mean it. There was just something about him.

Something annoying, maybe.

You mean it? You didn’t find him, like, way attractive?

"I didn’t find him not attractive. But it’s not like he’s going to keep me up nights. Like I said—all that staring. And his posture. He was so—I don’t know, straight. So formal or something."

Huh, Tess says. Hadn’t thought about that. But you’re right. He was standing up pretty straight. Geez, Michaelson, give me a break. No wonder you ended things with Adam Green three months ago and haven’t replaced him with anyone. You are seriously too picky.

First, it’s not like I’m ever going to see this guy again. And second, I ended things with Adam because all he was interested in doing was feeling me up and hoping I’d let him do more. Which, let me say, is not what I consider even slightly romantic.

Someone’s standards are awfully high.

Ha, ha. I reach into the pocket of the jeans I’d changed into once we got back from downtown and pull out my cell phone. Should I get Neal on the phone? Tell him you’ve changed your level of expectation?

Neal Patterson is Tess’s ex. If she had her way, he’d be ex to the entire world as well. Their breakup was, in a word, legendary.

Whatever, she says. But the guy at the theater was cute. And he’s got that whole mystery man thing going for him. That’s gotta count for something.

"Only if he drops back out of the sky and starts stalking you next time."

It could happen.

Oh, yeah, I tell her. I’m sure. You want to study some more before my dad gets back and drives you home?

If we have to, Tess says.

Thought you bombed that last quiz. That one on all the royal families?

Who can remember all that crap? Plus it’s sort of sick that they were all, like, intermarried to each other. That was one small royal family tree they had going there in Europe.

Nothing like keeping it in the family, I tell her. And then we get back to work.


The Present

Tuesday, 5:55 am


Anne. My father bends over my bed, gently shaking my shoulder until I open my eyes. He’s turned on the lamp on my nightstand, and I can see that he hasn’t combed his hair yet, so it’s standing up all spiky. He’s still in a T-shirt and the plaid Old Navy sleep pants my mother bought him so he wouldn’t wander around in his boxers and make us both uncomfortable, even though with all the jogging and avoiding wheat, he’s in decent shape.

You were screaming, he says. You must have been dreaming.

Don’t know, I tell him. I don’t remember.

My father studies me, but he doesn’t push the issue. I’m going to shower, he says eventually. He gives my arm a rub, lets his hand rest there for a bit. And your alarm is about to ring, so you might as well get up. You sure you’re okay?

Absolutely, I tell him. I sit up and give him my best smile. And then I keep smiling until he walks out of my room and back down the hall. Until I hear him turn on the shower in the master bath and hear the TV click on in my parents’ bedroom, which means my mother is watching the news or whatever while she gets dressed.

And then I stop smiling and concentrate on getting my heart to stop racing in my chest and my pulse to stop doing the cha-cha in my veins.

But I know that’s not going to happen anytime soon. It never does. Not when I have the dream—the same dream I had Sunday night after Tess went home. The same one I’ve had too many nights to count in the past three years since I first had it, right after we found out David was sick—which doesn’t even make much sense, since it’s not a dream about him.

Truth is, I’ve always had strange dreams. Particularly because sometimes—a lot of the time, actually—when I dream, I’m not me. It’s like watching a movie through someone else’s eyes or something. While I’m saying stuff and doing stuff, I’m pretty clear that in the dream, I’m this other person, not myself.

Once, I even dreamed as a guy—not that I woke up with any stunning insights about the male psyche or anything, which certainly doesn’t surprise me. Tess says with guys, it all comes down to three things—sports, sex, and food. Not necessarily in that order. For example in junior high, I was trying to write a short story, and I asked my brother David what he and his friends said when they thought a girl was hot. His response was, I’d do her. Then he grabbed the bag of Cheetos, snagged the remote, and flipped between ESPN and ESPN 2 for the next thirty minutes.

But these past few nights, I’ve just been her. The girl who haunts my dreams but whose face I never see. The one who refuses to leave me alone.

As always, I was trapped in this little cabin. That’s the way it goes in these dreams. A pattern I’ve grown used to—like how I know Adam Green can never carry on a conversation with a girl without his eyes straying to her chest, or how my father simply cannot make it through dinner without checking his Treo, as though his law firm will simply curl up and die during

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30 évaluations / 23 Avis
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Avis des lecteurs

  • (4/5)
    What would you do if your nightmare turned out to be more than just a dream—and the only way to stop it was to believe the impossible?Anne Michaelson is a pretty, average, American girl. She’s worried about her grades, about college, about her ballet classics, about boys. She’s definitely not worried about Russian history.Until she starts having the same, strange dream, over and over again. She is someone else, someone watching her family die. She is Anastasia Romanov. And instead of dying with her family, a pair of large, gnarled hands plunge down from the sky and snatch her up and away before she can die as well.Then, one day, as she and her best friend Tess are watching Swan Lake, she turns back to find a handsome, mysterious, blue-eyed boy watching her. Then he’s at school the next day; when he bumps her arm, it’s more than the charge of attraction rattling her bones. Then she’s seeing the witch from her dreams on the sidewalk. And her hands are glowing blue.There is a lot going on in Dreaming Anastasia. You have the alternating point of views of Anne and Ethan, her mysterious stranger, plus you have letters from Anastasia herself to different members of her family, written during her imprisonment with the witch Baga Yaga. You have the history of the last members of the Romanov family and their assassination. And you have a new author, Joy Preble, entwining all these threads into a remarkably well-written, if somewhat dispassionate tapestry of love, magic and dreams. Despite the very minor freshman flaws and my near inability to care for the characters, by the end Ms. Preble pulls it off. It’s slow to get going, but once it does, it’s a lot of fun. And I have to give her props, I was totally surprised by the ending and admire her greatly for pulling it off. I love it when an author surprises me, and surprise me, Ms. Preble did. And I did come to care for the characters, even if it took about half of the novel for that to happen.All in all, this is a fun read and I will be sure to look for more from Joy Preble.
  • (2/5)
    While I generally liked this book, there were points were I really struggled to get through the book. Some of the plot felt contrived, and I couldn't really get into Anne and Ethan's story. To be honest, I was more interested in Anastasia's story and how she would deal with Baba Yaga. I did like that Tess got involved in the main plot, but she felt more incidental. I also couldn't grasp Viktor as a villain, I didn't understand what his full motives were and the random theories that Anne sprouted off just felt random. ("Oh, he hates his family! Oh, he wants to live forever!") If this wasn't the start to a series and treated more as a stand-alone novel, I would probably have liked it a lot better.
  • (1/5)
    A terrible book, I thought the concept might be cool since I love dream books but it turned out to be horrible. As well as hating the main character, I hated her romantic interest. The plot was utterly pointless.
  • (4/5)
    Review courtesy of Dark Faerie TalesQuick & Dirty: A young girl’s dreams become the key to recovering the last of the Romanov family.Opening Sentence: I didn’t always dream about my family.The Review:The story of Anastasia Romanov and the tragedy that befell her and the rest of the Russian Royal family is a fairly well known one. The evil Rasputin and the murmurings of his dark magic make it easier to balance it out with the hopeful theories that one of the Romanovs survived, namely Anastasia. Dreaming Anastasia takes this idea and delivers its own unique theory on what happened so many years ago. Baba Yaga, famed witch from Russian folklore, steals Anastasia away at the last moment and keeps her prisoner inside her chicken-leg house. Then a prophecy foretells of a girl that will have the ability to set the Grand Duchess free. From this, a Brotherhood dedicates themselves to finding this girl and helping her realize her destiny.16-year-old Anne Michaelson has been having weird dreams for a while now. Dreams that are seen through another girl’s eyes depicting a time and place far from Anne’s. She believes that it is just her imagination until she meets a hot looking stranger that tells her the truth; that the dreams are of a real girl, Anastasia Romanov, and that it is her destiny to free her from her prison in Baba Yaga’s wandering home. Really, what teenager is going to believe that? Anne expresses lots of cynicism about the whole thing but she can’t deny that there is someone out to get her, whether the cause is her “destiny” or the man that swooped into her life at the same time. Anne’s character may vacillate, what teenager doesn’t, but she really has a good heart. If there is a way that she can help save somebody from such a sad and lonely life, she will do what she can to help. Though there is an element of fantasy attached to this story, Anne’s character reactions seem more realistic than most. And like all good fairy tales, there is a love interest.Etanovich “Ethan” Kozninsky looks like a typical 18-year-old; but his looks are deceiving. His true age is closer to 100 and his immortality comes at a price. He is tasked by Viktor and the Brotherhood, a sacred group of Russian royalists, to find the girl named in prophecy that can release Anastasia back into our world. He is very determined and goal-oriented, but naïve. His belief in the Brotherhood and its principles make him blind to potential deception. Now that he has found the one they have all been looking for, he is forced to protect her from unseen enemies. Can Ethan do what it takes to keep Anne safe and free Anastasia? If it comes down to it, will he choose his duty or his heart? Let’s face it, there has to be some feelings that arise between Anne and Ethan; it’s the whole fighting-for-our-lives adrenaline going on and sexual tension thing that is always there between the sexes in these sort of tales.Anastasia Romanov and Baba Yaga’s story is interwoven within this novel. The mixture of Russian history and folktales gives not only a great base story, but a more realistic aspect to the fantasy. But do the tales ever tell the whole truth? Are the lines between good and evil much less clear than we initially were led to believe?Viktor and The Brotherhood are part of an ancient sect of guys that are dedicated to protecting the royal Russian line, aka the Romanovs. The night that tragedy struck the royal family, it was the Brotherhood and their magic that compelled Baba Yaga to save Anastasia. By doing so, they also tied their lives to that of the last Romanov. As long as she remains imprisoned and ageless, so were they. What was supposed to be only a few years started to extend far beyond. After so many years of immortality, some may decide that the girl everyone believes is dead may be better kept that way and thereby insuring their own endless lifespan. So who is on the side of freeing Anastasia and who is no longer? If this sect of priests can no longer be trusted, who can Anne and Ethan turn to for help?Overall, I truly enjoyed this book. Dreaming Anastasia is full of facts, fiction, and fantasy with a little bit of flirting. There are enough themes and events that a well rounded reader can appreciate. And while there are many books out there that have teenagers with destinies, the uniqueness of Anne and her story remains true to herself and her age. Mainly, she changes her acceptance from one moment to the next like a typical teen. She is the perfect heroine in a group of old-fashioned zealots and true believers.Notable Scene:He lets go of my arm, then takes both my hands tightly in his. “Believe, Anne. Believe. It is your destiny.”“Destiny? I’m sixteen years old. I don’t want a destiny. I go to high school. Until you started following me around, my biggest problem was whether or not I’d studied for my chemistry test. Now I’m running from crazy witches. People are shooting at us. With bullets. And it’s all your fault.”“It’s not my fault,” Ethan says. “It’s what has to be. It’s what you’re supposed to do.”“And who put you in charge of me?”“Well, I… you-““I, you, what? That’s the best you can do? You’re telling me that you’ve been around since horse-and-buggy days, checking out every likely girl who comes your way to see if she’s the one, and that’s the best you can do? I? You? Give me a break, Ethan. I mean, seriously.”Dreaming Anastasia Series:1. Dreaming Anastasia2. Haunted3. Anastasia ForeverFTC Advisory: Sourcebooks graciously provided a copy of Dreaming Anastasia. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. The only payment received came in the form of hugs and kisses from my little boys.
  • (4/5)
    Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble is the first book in the Dreaming Anastasia series. The book takes place in modern day, but has some interesting historical elements woven into it. Anna Michaelson is an average girl who just happens to dream of Anastasia Romanov. She doesn't just dream about her, she dreams she is her. Anna's life gets turned upside down when a boy named Ethan shows up and changes her life forever.Joy Preble did a great job mixing history and folklore and turning it into a fascinating read. The characters are great. Anna and Ethan have great chemistry. Tess, Anna's best friend, is a true friend in every sense of the word. Anna has to search inside herself to discover the truth and unravel the mystery of Anastasia while trying to escape two different nemesis. The girl has her hands full.Overall this is a good book. I like the modern-day twist on historical facts blended with Russian folklore. It also has action, adventure, mystery, and romance. Dreaming Anastasia was predictable at times, but still very enjoyable.
  • (4/5)
    What did happen to Anastasia Romanov, the youngest daughter of the Russian tsar? That is a mystery that has plagued historians for years, but in Dreaming Anastasia, Joy Preble has managed to integrate the mystery into a fairytale that readers will feel is more real than originally thought. While the focus is not on Anastasia (at least not entirely), she is the key at the heart of the quest that brings together Ethan, a man who has been searching for the one girl who will help him free Anastasia, and Anne, a modern girl just trying to make it through high school.I adored both Anne and Ethan. Both of them developed as characters quite well considering the short amount of time they spend with each other. It was a great big plus in my book to be able to get inside both of their heads as well as Anastasia's in chapters of alternating points of view. For Anastasia, I feel as though I knew her more through her letters to her family, and how hard it must have been for her to write each of them. There were a few chapters where I forgot who was talking and became a little confused, having to go back to the beginning of the chapter and remember whose point of view I was reading from. However, once I dove further into the book, Preble's transitions between our three main characters were seamless. Seeing the villain of a fairytale like Baba Yaga being used as a force for good puts the entire "good vs. evil" arguement in perspective. There are always areas of gray matter in which a hero might be forced to do something wicked and a villain might do something beneficial for someone beyond themselves. Characters that break the molds of their stereotypes draw my interest and curiosity, so I'm eager to see how Preble will utilize Baba Yaga in the next books. While Russian folklore isn't studied or read as often as other fairytales, I'm glad to see an author like Joy Preble thinking outside of the box with her Anastasia trilogy. I'm looking forward to reading the continuation of Anne and Ethan's story in Haunted and Anastasia Forever (which is due to be released in August).
  • (3/5)
    I love fiction having to do with the Romanovs, especially Anastasia and Alexei (Alexei would have made this book so much cooler). Anne is a normal girl, going to ballet lessons with her best friend Tess, worrying about school and missing her brother, who died of cancer. Strange things begin to happen--she meets a guy, who is possibly 100+ years old, around when the Romanovs were alive, and insists that she's the only one who can save Anastasia, who's living in the hut with Baba Yaga, a witch from Russian folklore.I like it. It's decent, after all, it is young adult fiction. Romanovs make me happy. The romance between Anne and Ethan is cute and likable, though it ends on a strange note for the opening of the second novel. The only real complaint I have is that I don't like Tess, she's pretty annoying to me.
  • (4/5)
    I really like how the author really interpreted such a classic tale in to something new. I love it when authors do that!! It gives me a whole new fresh picture of the story of Anastasia Romanov.The story line of this story is amazing! I love the new concept of the story and how it flows. I love the history of the Romanov's and what happen to Anastasia. Ms. Preble did an great job in pulling the reader from the very first page. Heck, I was hooked. I loved that right from the started the action and mystery of Anastasia began, and just kept on rolling. The characters were really unique. I loved Anne and her fierceness. She is so strong and not intimidated. Her character knew much because she went through so much. I admired Anna for her strength and wiliness to help Anastasia. The character that came out to me the most, is the best friend. She is absolutely amazing! I loved how supportive she was instead of the normal jealousy stuff.Overall, this is a great book! I loved the pacing of the book. Many surprises were revealed little by little, but not too much to over whelm the reader. As the reader continues reading, your are sucked into a world of great story told over many years!
  • (2/5)
    This story was frustrating on many levels. I was interested in reading the book because of the connection to Anastasia Romanov. I am glad I resisted the urge to buy until I had the opportunity to get this for free on my Kindle. The story makes little sense, even for a paranormal read. Anne meets a boy named Ethan, who really isn't a boy because he is immortal and was a first hand witness to the murder of the Romanovs. Then Anne finds out that she is the missing link, the girl Ethan has been waiting for since that fateful day of the murders. Anne can apparently unlock the mystery of Anastasia's disappearance and can help break her out of the hut where she has been held, frozen in time, all these years. This is where it gets even weirder. The author makes an attempt at mixing the fictionalized historical parts with a Russian fairy tale/fable. It doesn't work at all. Baba Yaga send her detached hands down to wreck havoc and keep Anne and Ethan from Anastasia? Huh. And the three horsemen thing had a big lead up like it was important and feel flat to me. The best part was the climax and conclusion although what happens to Anastasia is sort of a let down. The book has some good. The story is easy to read when sometimes thats just what I need. It is a page turner and it is definitely unique. My biggest complaint is that I just can't shake the thought that this story may be somewhat disrespectful to the Roamanov's. There are a lot of liberties taken with this book and thats fine, the story is 100 years old but it should still be a little more respectful. There is no feeling for the deaths of the family...even Anastasia's recollections don't seem to feel all that grief stricken. I think I just wanted more from this book. And trust me there are MANY better YA books out there worth reading.
  • (5/5)
    Full review can be found at paperbackgoddess.blogspot.comBeing a fan of Anastasia lore, I had high hopes for this book. Fortunately, it did not let me down. The writing is somewhat simplistic - which is suitable for a young adult book, but at the same time, the content is high in detail and vivid imagery. Dreaming Anastasia is well developed and creative. It covers the same topics as many books that have come before it, but from a new angle. the story is dark and has many sad moments, but it has humorous points as well. Great for a light read.
  • (2/5)
    I consider myself a fan of all things involving the mystery and history of Anastasia Romanov. So when I stumbled upon this book on Goodreads, I immediately added it to my to-read list. Not to mention that the cover is awesome! So when I was given the chance to review this book and its sequel Haunted, I did not hesitate to accept. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy this book as much as I was hoping to. In fact, I'm very disappointed.The idea of Anastasia surviving that horrific day when her family was murdered, because the mysterious Baba Yaga intervened was a cool concept for this book. I feel that Joy Preble didn't execute that idea so well. To start off,Anne Michaelson wasn't the type of character I was expecting to be the protagonist. She wasn't a stupid girl but there were moments where I wish she would stop acting weird around Ethan, the mysterious stranger who seeks Anne's help to liberate Anastasia from the confinements of Baba Yaga's hut. Although she was annoyed by him, she still felt the need to call him sexy and describe his "beautiful blue eyes" constantly.It was this part of Anne's behavior that really made me dislike the book. I'm tired of reading about girls who act like that! Also,I wasn't too sure if the shifts in POV between Anne, Ethan, and Anastasia would work in this story but I was surprised to see that they did. I did like to read from the different POV's because it did make the story somewhat interesting-except from Anastasia's POV. When it came to read from Anastasia's POV though, it was a bit difficult to read because of the cursive font that was used (Publisher's fault?) and it was also annoying to read because she sounded like she was revealing deep and dark secrets when it basically felt like she was repeating things that you already learned from previous chapters.Now the ending for this book... I'd like to know what is wrong with stand alone novels? Really, what is the problem with just having a story end with one book? The way that a certain character shifted from whatever side he/she was to another, left me dumbstruck. Just because of that shift, it hit me as to why there was a sequel to this book. Not only did this book drag and drag for me, but the story is actually continuing...Well, I don't think this book was meant for me. I've seen so many good reviews on this book that it feels weird to have to write a negative one, but hey... I'm just being honest and giving my 100 percent opinion.
  • (3/5)
    Ah, Anastasia Romanov, the biggest mystery of Russian culture. A very interesting topic to make into a novel. This novel plays off the idea of Anastasia surviving in imprisonment because of Babba Yaga, a fairy-tale witch. Yaga is from Slavic folk-lore and kidnaps young children, eventually eating them. Similar to the fairy tale of Hanzel and Gretel. There are other versions, however, where Yaga actually helps the hero by kidnaping a child in danger. This is the case in Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble. In the novel Ana Michaelson is a high school freshman who has recurring dreams about a young girl trapped in a forest who needs Ana to save her. She ignores these dreams and passes them off as nightmares. That is, until a fierce, blue-eyed stalker tells her that their destinies are entwined because she holds the key to finding Anastasia. He also has the power to free Anastasia from her prison. Of course, like any normal smart girl, she ignores the ‘hot,’ 100-something-year-old monk and chooses her own destiny. That doesn’t work out at all. The book was a fast-paced read. Preble uses a basic vocabulary with a touch of Russian to support the Russian theme and history. Even though there are a lot of historical facts in this book, not all of them were true. Some of the relationships between the Russian characters were never proven, but the author played off rumors to make the story more interesting while simultaneously trying to discover how they would save Anastasia. The down side of the book are the worst Russian names I have ever read. The author just added ‘V’’s in the characters’ names’ to make them Russian. That peeved me a lot because she could have done so much more with them. Another thing I did not like about the book were the letters from Anastasia. It was a great idea to have them in the story to get an inside look at her. but the font of the letters was nearly impossible to read to the point I gave up on them almost completely.
  • (4/5)
    I liked this book. It was a very different spin on history, and it even made me want to look up information on Anastasia. Ethan was a very likable character and so was Anne. This was a quick read, and I would definately recommend it.
  • (4/5)
    Like many people, I'm fascinated by the Romanovs - their lives, the modern mythology that has sprung up around their bloody demise, and of course, the conspiracy theories concerning the possible survival of the Tsar's youngest daughter Anastasia. This novel for young adults weaves all of these things together in an exciting and unusual twist on the Romanov story.Anne is at a ballet performance with her friend Tess when she first sees him: the young man with the piercing blue eyes who can't seem to take his eyes off her. To Tess's delight, the next day he turns up at her school. But Anne has more important things to think about - like the terrible dreams of a witch with huge hands and iron teeth, and of a family being massacred, that are haunting her sleep. Everything starts to fall into place when Ethan reveals that she has been watching the fall of the Romanovs, that Anastasia was indeed saved from her family's massacre, swept up by the witch Baba Yaga and kept safe in a magical hut ever since, and that Anne is the girl he has been looking for, the one person who can rescue the Grand Duchess and set her free. Of course Anne thinks he's crazy, but as strange things start happening they must join together in a dangerous race in which more than one life hangs in the balance.Sound complicated? Well, yes, it is a bit. There's a lot of detail to take in as the novel goes on, from the Russian fairytale of Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave to the complex dynamics of the tsar's family. The novel is told from three perspectives, which helps a little, as each contributes their own knowledge and understanding to help the reader piece things together. Anne is the modern girl learning about the Romanov history and the Baba Yaga folklore. Ethan is the young man who was there when the Romanovs were slaughtered and has been searching for the key to Anastasia's freedom ever since. And Anastasia herself is given a voice in the form of three letters to her family, almost like journal entries questioning their choices and straightening her own experiences in her mind. To begin with I found the quick changes between Anne and Ethan a little jarring - and the 'handwritten' script of Anastasia's letters was quite hard to decipher at times - but I soon adjusted to the point where I hardly noticed the switch.All in all, I enjoyed it. Once or twice I figured out what was going on before the characters did - including the main motivation behind everything that was happening - which may have dampened my excitement somewhat. Occasionally it felt like too much had been crammed into one story, with things going too fast for the reader to really keep up and process what was happening. But I thought the premise was very original, and I enjoyed the glimpse into an aspect of Russian folklore that I'd never come across before. It was surprisingly moving by the end, and the characters were engaging and likeable, if a little flat sometimes. Recommended to Romanov geeks and anyone who likes their YA fiction flavoured with something a little out of the ordinary...
  • (5/5)
    This book was a total surprise to me. I've always been intrigued by the mystery of Anastasia and this completely turned the story on its head and added a new fantastical twist. I was not expecting this one to be as spine-tingling as it was. Strangely, I had heard of the witch Baba Yaga, but never actually heard her story, and let me tell you...it completely freaked me out. The thought of this decrepit old creepy witch with her gigantic detachable hands that would go out and do her devious bidding was enough to have me slapping the book closed until my shivers died down. In this story,those creepy hands swooped in and took Anastasia away from the massacre of her family, but Baba Yaga has held her captive for nearly 100 years and everyone involved in the mystery has been made immortal until the day when a mystery girl will come to her rescue.Anne made for a really interesting protagonist. She is just a regular teen, trying to do well in school and studying ballet. She has a good head on her shoulders, and while being a little less outspoken than her best friend, Tess, she has a good confident voice. I love her first reactions to her encounters with Ethan. Instead of being one of those girls that swoons when she sees any hot guy staring at her incessantly and continually keeps popping up where ever she is, she thinks to herself "why can't I be approached by someone normal? Why do I get this guy who stares at me and seems to be a stalker." Not her exact words, but you get the idea. It takes her awhile to be convinced that the magical things happening to her are real, but when she does, she goes at it head on!Tess was a good supporting character, an excellent best friend to Anna. She was tough and persistent and refused to be left out of the loop if it meant standing by Anna, even when she knew it might be dangerous. She was also funny and witty, a good balance to the intensity of the story.The point of view goes back and forth between Anne and Ethan with a few interjections from Anastasia. While most of the time this worked really well and it was perfect to be able to get Ethan's side of the action, a few times (just a very few, really) their voices were not distinct enough from each other and I would forget whose POV I was currently in. It didn't take away from the story, though.I did take one cupcake away for "presentation", I guess you would call it. In certain parts of this book, Anastasia is writing to her deceased family members. These sections were printed in a script font that was very near to being illegible. I came to actually dread getting to these sections! Her letters did impart some important information pertaining to the storyline, but the struggle to decipher the fancy font was enough to make the story feel like it was dragging.Despite that, I loved this one. It was exciting and adventurous, and definitely chilling at times! A perfect, magical twist on the Anastasia legend!
  • (3/5)
    The interesting thing about this novel is that it blends the mystery that surrounds Anastasia Romanov with the fairy tale of Baba Yaga. It proved to be an interesting blend of history and fantasy (more fantasy than history). I really began to like the characters and appreciated the complexity of Baba Yaga's role. I also really enjoyed the modern story and especially the outspoken Tess. Anne and Ethan were a little flat for me, especially being the main characters. Overall, I liked the book. I heard there is a follow up book to this one, and I am definitely curious to see where the story will go
  • (5/5)
    Anne is sixteen-years-old and even though her family is still recovering from the loss of her brother to cancer two years ago, she still maintains a typical teenage life. She hangs out with her best friend, Tess, stresses over school work, and takes an advanced ballet class. While attending a performance of Swan Lake, she learns that not everything in the world can be explained. From this night on, she is thrust into a world involving danger, betrayal, and magic.Ethan is a member of the Brotherhood, a group created in the early 1900’s to protect Tsar Nicholas II and his family. He is intent on finding the girl destined to release the Grand Duchess Anastasia from captivity where she has been since the assassination of her family. Anastasia is stuck at age seventeen until she can be released from Baba Yaga, a witch from Russian Folklore, just like Ethan is stuck at eighteen until he can release her. After almost one hundred years, Ethan has finally found the girl who can help him – Anne.Anne dreamed of Anastasia even before Ethan came into her life. Anne is in the basement with the Romanov family looking through Anastasia’s eyes as her family is being murdered in front of her. She knows there is something strange about what happened to Anastasia, but doesn’t know enough to put the pieces together. What she witnesses during the dreams doesn’t make sense in a realistic world. When Ethan approaches Anne, she must make the decision whether or not to believe him and if she is going to help him or not. She finds out that she holds more than one life in her hands.DREAMING ANASTASIA is a book that blends the present and the past in such a way it is seamless. The alternating points of view of Anne, Ethan, and Anastasia create a clear picture for the reader. The inclusion of handwritten letters from Anastasia to all of her family members gives the reader the historical background needed to understand the plot of this creative story. Once you start reading, you won’t want to put the book down. You’ll want to start researching the Romanov family as soon as you are finished.
  • (3/5)
    I have putting off this review for so long, I couldn’t even list all of the reasons why. The main reason however, is that I simply cannot figure out how I feel about it. I like it, but then I don’t (not in general, for very specific reasons I will touch on). Let me start out though by telling you what I liked about Dreaming Anastasia, which equals out to a whole lot! First, the world! I loved the setting of Dreaming Anastasia, be it in the ‘real world’ or in Baba Yaga’s hut in the forest! I always knew where I was and I could always SEE where I was. I also loved the characters, Anne was a brave heroine, and Tess was everything a good best friend should be, Ethan was also very protective of both his secret, Anne and Anastasia which left me kind of putting him on the ‘Anna does not like you’ list.I love love love love love hearing about folklore, be it Russian, Greek, Irish, American, it doesn’t matter I enjoy it beyond the ends of the earths. So I also LOVED learning more about the Slavic folklore behind Baba Yaga. I had heard of her before but I wasn’t aware she actually was a part of any sort of folklore. I loved the descriptions of her, as well as her hut and the forest! I can tell you one thing, I’m an adult and her description almost scared me, I can’t imagine being a child and being told her story.Now… onto the bad stuff. Basically there are very few things in the history of the world that I am passionate about or feel connected to, I can’t explain it, I just am. The Romanov assassination is one of those things. It was such an absolutely HORRIBLE thing that happened, and not even 100 years ago. I think what gets me the most isn’t that people were killed – that happens every single day – but the fact that CHILDREN were killed (the youngest, only 14), and so brutally for that matter. Anyway, the most appalling thing about Dreaming Anastasia (and this is a minor spoiler) is the reference to Nicholas II having an illegitimate child. Now Nicholas had a lot to answer for for his treatment of his country, and while I’m not scholar on the matter, I have never read even ONCE a belief that he was unfaithful to Alexandra (except from people who like to stir up trouble). Now I am sure no one NOW knows for sure, and of course it could have happened, but every report I have ever read about Nicholas one thing has always been the same: That he absolutely adored and loved his family -wife included- beyond a shadow of a doubt. I understand that this is Fiction too, but there is a really fine line between meddling with the past, and defamation of character. It’s fine when the person is made up but the situation is real, however when it’s the other way around you’re walking on glass, and I think that Joy may have crossed a line for me personally.But like I said in the beginning, I DID also like the book. I wasn’t completely put off by the history meddling, I was able to read the book without it effecting it very much, but whenever I think back to it that little piece gets under my skin. On the bright side though, it’s the only thing that bothered me about it!
  • (4/5)
    I was so excited for this book, When i read the summary i was like I WANT THIS BOOK! I was not disappointed.I liked how Preble put together everything, the combination of fiction, history, and folklore was very interesting and had me hooked until the LAST page.The characters were awesome.My favorite character was Anne's best friend Tess, she was so funny. Ethan is just HOT.Anne is the icing on the cake, she's funny and brave.They made the story fun and interesting.Overall I really enjoyed this book! Dreaming Anastasia is an awesome debut novel, and I can’t wait to see what Joy Preble comes out with next.I hear she wants to make a series.Call me a nerd BUT i did some research on the Romanov family and the fairy tale character of Baba Yaga. Like i said the history and folklore part was very interesting, i can't even believe i researched Baby Yaga instead of doing my homework. But isn't that saying something other then me being a nerd lol, i mean i don't research anything other then school work( i don't even like doing that) But DREAMING ANASTASIA was easy to read and an enjoyable story
  • (3/5)
    Sixteen-year-old Anne Michaelson is plagued by bad dreams in which she is trapped in a small cabin with a hideous old lady who has iron teeth and huge hands. The dream girl has only a set of nested Russian dolls for comfort. One fateful evening, Anne notices Ethan Kozninsky, a handsome boy, staring at her. After that, the line between dreams and waking life begins to crumble.Dreaming Anastasia is a fresh look at the fate of Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov. Although the entire Russian royal family was supposed to have been murdered in 1918, rumors have surfaced many times over the past century that one daughter, Anastasia, survived the execution. Preble starts with that premise, mixes in elements of the Russian folk tale of Baba Yaga, adds some magic, and finishes with romance.The principal plot is told in alternating chapters from Anne's and Ethan's perspectives. The device works well, and it is always clear who is telling the story. Throughout the novel, we also hear from Anastasia, either directly or through her letters. There is plenty of action, and, although we are pretty sure our heroes will prevail, it isn't always clear whom Anne and Ethan should trust and just how they will fulfill their destiny.Unfortunately, I was not totally lost in the world Preble created. I'm not sure if that's because I didn't strongly identify with Anne or because the book was geared to too young of an audience for me. However, because there is plenty to like about the novel, I can definitely recommend it to older middle readers and younger teens.Dreaming Anastasia was a fine debut novel, and Joy Preble is an author to keep on your radar.
  • (4/5)
    Dreaming Anastasia was an enjoyable read from start to finish. So enjoyable, in fact, that it’s gotten me interested in reading more about the Romanov’s and their history. I, of course, know vague high school level details of the events but the plot in this story fictionalized elements so interestingly that I’m intrigued to find out more. This is a testament to Preble’s ability to interweave fact with fiction thus making it entirely believable that this young princess was swept away by magic to live an ageless life until saved from captivity.Speaking of magic, I appreciated that Preble didn’t bang us over the head with mysticism and magical pyrotechnics. The story was driven by compelling characters who happened also to have these forces inside them — some were for good others for evil . While magic was entirely prevalent throughout it wasn’t a caricature or some outrageously constructed series of laughable actions that people were left scratching their heads over. In this case the magic was all completely relevant and believable in the scope of the story.The relationship between Anne and Ethan carried with it that invisible bond magic and the mission they were carrying out held over them. She with her initial skepticism over the events transpiring and the struggle to accept her role and power; he the person with all the answers for her yet measuring how to best move forward in providing them. There was just enough to push them together but also plenty to keep them just that much apart. Speaking of which, I enjoyed that Preble didn’t fall into the trap of prolonging the initial distance between the two in the hope of keeping that “who is he” mystery alive. It was clear from the beginning there was a bond and we were kept guessing for just the right amount of time before small details started to trickle out. The timing of that was very well done and kept intriguing me throughout.The attraction between Ethan and Anne was apparent from their initial meeting. Yet, the budding love story between the young couple is chaste. I never felt like they were completely in or out of love just that they were moving more and more in the direction of figuring it all out. This, in my opinion, makes the book a good gateway for readers moving from Middle Grade to Young Adult. To further the latter point, Dreaming Anastasia is a quick read with plenty of suspense and mystery to keep readers not only interested but invested in the outcome.The use of mystical storytelling and lore is widely used and certainly effective. The story of Baba Yaga is vivid and creatively portrayed. There is equal parts fearsome monster and sympathetic captive compelled by others to do their bidding. She quickly becomes one of those members of the cast that readers either love or love to hate. Further, the story surrounding the role she plays in Anastasia’s captivity is quite imaginative and makes one wonder if it is truly of real Russian folklore. Yet another area where readers may be compelled to do further research after completing the novel.In the end Dreaming Anastasia is a story of love and loss on many different levels. It was a wild, fun and sweetly romantic ride.
  • (4/5)
    Joy Preble would like us to think that Dreaming Anastasia is her first novel, but I don't know if I buy it. Her entrancing narrative style, and the skill with which she balances the various elements of her novel, seem to speak of someone with more experience than she's owning up to.I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this book, but within a very few pages, I was absolutely hooked. The way the story wove together the elements of history, fantasy and folklore into a cohesive whole was unique and addictive. I'm a fairy tale junkie, and I like to explore beyond the tales we've all heard of. As a result, I was already familiar with the tale of Vasilisa and Baba Yaga, from which Dreaming Anastasia draws inspiration. I was so excited by the way this novel used the colorful character of Baba Yaga (complete with chicken-legged hut and flying mortar). This is one folktale I've never seen used in a novel before, and it was fun and exciting to read.If the concept isn't enough to pull you in, the characters should do the trick. Anne is a strong, interesting young woman that I instantly felt drawn to. And Ethan has that perfect mix of mysterious and kind to be incredibly appealing. And he's hot. The only one of the three main characters that I had a hard time getting into was Anastasia, but her sections were so dreamlike that it was hard to relate to her. Loved Baba Yaga, though!The only thing I would change about this book is that I wish a couple of sections have been a bit more fully developed. For example, there was a lot of time spent talking about Anne's deceased brother and the family's grief, but it didn't feel particularly relevant to the story. The source and description of the magic powers used by various characters in the story could also have used a little more explanation. Overall, Dreaming Anastasia is a fantastic story with tons of appeal. Check it out.
  • (3/5)
    I was really excited when I saw this book because I took Russian language and Russian History in high school and always was interested in the idea that Anastasia Romanov actually escaped that fateful night. The story had a wonderful premise mixing modern day, magic and Russian fairy tales but I felt like sometimes the story took the easy way out. There was great build up and then I was left with a feeling of let down at several parts of the book. For instance, I loved hearing about Anne and her older brother and really felt for the family as they had to deal with his lost to cancer but I didn’t feel like the overall storyline made much use of it. It seemed to be more of a great mini story line that is still waiting to be developed. Despite that I zoomed through this book and found it an enjoyable read. It makes me want to go back and re-read my Russian fairy tales.