Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: August 28, 2017
Theme: Family, Independence, Women’s Rights, Wartime, Responsibility
Anastasia is always one to try something new and never fears independence. From helping her distraught mother to running the family business, Anastasia does what she can to provide for her family. As ambitious as she is, life in the 1900s as an unwed mother does come with struggles and a constant need to prove herself. However, she is as determined as ever to keep her family strong and give what she can to her children.
What struck me about this book was the idea that this was based on a true story. The author took her ancestor’s diaries and created this novel highlighting the varying points in Anastasia’s life. I also really liked how the effect of wartime and even illness is woven into the story flawlessly. It gives a sense of not only reality, but also an appreciation for my own life.
It does seem as if the author does have a good handle on Anastasia’s life and definitely gives this character distinct characteristics. The reader gets to know Anastasia on a pretty deep level and can easily sympathize with her. Unfortunately, I did feel most of the other characters were more distant, but maybe this was this point of the story.
This wasn’t an action-filled read, which wasn’t what I expected, but nonetheless the pacing wasn’t consistent. There were leaps in time within pages and I had to backtrack several times to fully comprehend how much time has passed. For example, when Anastasia first becomes pregnant and had the child, it seemed as if happened in the blink of an eye. Along with the pacing, I wished more time was spent on the effects of the Napoleonic wars because I was entranced and couldn’t help wanting more. Unfortunately, this, along with the effects of the smallpox disease, were also so short and almost not needed to tell this story.
I also found the description to be misleading. Yes, Anastasia was an unwed mother, but by the time she had the second child, the first one wasn’t even living with her. Then, I had a tough time understanding where the third child was. I honestly believe there wasn’t a third child – just Peter and Alex. I’m not sure. Maybe there was a third child in real life, but it never made it to the final draft?
Lastly, the book is called Anastasia’s Book of Days. The reason for this is because the protagonist kept track of all that had happened in her life in a book that her mother gave to her when she was a child. However, the whole book was set up just like any other book with chapters, not in a journal/diary form. This isn’t a big deal, but it would’ve been nice to know prior to reading.
Overall, this was an average read. It wasn’t anything too exciting and I didn’t really feel like I learned much, but I can see others enjoying this read.
I would recommend Anastasia’s Book of Days to those who would like to read about a woman living in the late 1900s and how her life has progressed.
Was this a book of my choosing or one for review?
2 out of 50 books of my choosing for 2018!