100 books like I Was Anastasia

By Ariel Lawhon,

Here are 100 books that I Was Anastasia fans have personally recommended if you like I Was Anastasia. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Romanov Empress: A Novel of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna

Ken Czech Author Of The Tsar's Locket

From my list on the triumphs and tragedies of Russia's Romanovs.

Why am I passionate about this?

The Romanov saga has intrigued me since I was an undergraduate student in history many moons ago. Three hundred years of Romanov rule were filled with exotic beauty, violence, and tragedy. I went on to teach Russian history at university and was able to share some of the stories of the tsars and tsarinas with my students. Having authored books and articles in my academic field, my teaching career has ended. Now it is historical fiction that has captured my imagination and spurred me to pen my own novels set in 19th-century Africa and Afghanistan, as well as Russia during the reign of Ivan the Terrible.

Ken's book list on the triumphs and tragedies of Russia's Romanovs

Ken Czech Why did Ken love this book?

Gortner's story of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna, the wife of Tsar Alexander III, features incredible historical detail on the tumultuous events sweeping through Russia from the tragic death of her husband to the awful murder of her son, Nicholas II, and his family. Told in first person, we see through the tsarina's eyes the slow and inevitable collapse of the Romanov dynasty in the face of gargantuan political and social upheavals. The descriptions of jewels and dresses and festivals underscores Romanov privilege when only a few had so much more than most.

What I found particularly interesting was Gortner's description of the conflict between Maria and Alexandra, the wife of Nicholas II, that spiraled to mistrust, grief, and anger.

By C.W. Gortner,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Romanov Empress as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Novel of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna From the opulent palaces of St. Petersburg to the World War I battlefields and the bloodied countryside occupied by the Bolsheviks, C. W. Gortner sweeps us into the fall of an empire and the bold heart of the woman who tried to save it.


Book cover of Russka: The Novel of Russia

Ken Czech Author Of The Tsar's Locket

From my list on the triumphs and tragedies of Russia's Romanovs.

Why am I passionate about this?

The Romanov saga has intrigued me since I was an undergraduate student in history many moons ago. Three hundred years of Romanov rule were filled with exotic beauty, violence, and tragedy. I went on to teach Russian history at university and was able to share some of the stories of the tsars and tsarinas with my students. Having authored books and articles in my academic field, my teaching career has ended. Now it is historical fiction that has captured my imagination and spurred me to pen my own novels set in 19th-century Africa and Afghanistan, as well as Russia during the reign of Ivan the Terrible.

Ken's book list on the triumphs and tragedies of Russia's Romanovs

Ken Czech Why did Ken love this book?

Rutherford's Russka was the first novel about Russia that I read nearly thirty years ago, and its descriptions and plotting still resonates. Through the lens of four families divided by ethnicity, the book sweeps the reader from Russia's Slavic origins to the Bolshevik Revolution. The chapter in which Tsar Ivan the Terrible plays a major role is especially riveting. What impressed me the most was how the author crafted a story of Russian rule and culture spanning 1,800 years and its impact on the characters. 

By Edward Rutherfurd,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Russka as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this vast and gorgeous tapestry of a novel, serf and master, Cossack and tsar, priest and Jew are brought together in a family saga which unrolls through centuries of history to reveal that most impenetrable and mysterious of lands - Russia. Through the life of a little town east of Moscow in the Russian heartland, Edward Rutherfurd creates a sweeping family saga from the baffling contradictions of Russia's culture and her peoples - bleak yet exotic, brutal but romantic, land of ritual yet riddled with superstitious fears. From Russia's dawn and the cruel Tatar invasions to Ivan the Terrible…


Book cover of Tsarina

Ken Czech Author Of The Tsar's Locket

From my list on the triumphs and tragedies of Russia's Romanovs.

Why am I passionate about this?

The Romanov saga has intrigued me since I was an undergraduate student in history many moons ago. Three hundred years of Romanov rule were filled with exotic beauty, violence, and tragedy. I went on to teach Russian history at university and was able to share some of the stories of the tsars and tsarinas with my students. Having authored books and articles in my academic field, my teaching career has ended. Now it is historical fiction that has captured my imagination and spurred me to pen my own novels set in 19th-century Africa and Afghanistan, as well as Russia during the reign of Ivan the Terrible.

Ken's book list on the triumphs and tragedies of Russia's Romanovs

Ken Czech Why did Ken love this book?

Empress Catherine the Great immediately comes to mind when referring to women who ruled Russia. In Tsarina, however, author Alpsten focuses on Catherine Alexeyevna, the wife of Peter the Great, who rose to power in the early 18th century. Born into devastating poverty, Catherine is a woman who holds her cards close and plays them judiciously. She seduces Peter, revels in the riches and debauchery of the Russian court, and emerges not only as his wife, but a linchpin to Russia's future when Peter dies. This is an extraordinary tale of a powerful and intelligent woman often ignored in history.

By Ellen Alpsten,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tsarina as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Makes Game of Thrones look like a nursery rhyme." —Daisy Goodwin, New York Times bestselling author of The Fortune Hunter

“[Alpsten] recounts this remarkable woman’s colourful life and times." —Count Nikolai Tolstoy, historian and author

Before there was Catherine the Great, there was Catherine Alexeyevna: the first woman to rule Russia in her own right. Ellen Alpsten's rich, sweeping debut novel is the story of her rise to power.

St. Petersburg, 1725. Peter the Great lies dying in his magnificent Winter Palace. The weakness and treachery of his only son has driven his father to an appalling act of cruelty…


Book cover of The Romanov Bride

Ken Czech Author Of The Tsar's Locket

From my list on the triumphs and tragedies of Russia's Romanovs.

Why am I passionate about this?

The Romanov saga has intrigued me since I was an undergraduate student in history many moons ago. Three hundred years of Romanov rule were filled with exotic beauty, violence, and tragedy. I went on to teach Russian history at university and was able to share some of the stories of the tsars and tsarinas with my students. Having authored books and articles in my academic field, my teaching career has ended. Now it is historical fiction that has captured my imagination and spurred me to pen my own novels set in 19th-century Africa and Afghanistan, as well as Russia during the reign of Ivan the Terrible.

Ken's book list on the triumphs and tragedies of Russia's Romanovs

Ken Czech Why did Ken love this book?

This book focuses on another woman from Russian history. Grand Duchess Elisavyeta was the sister of Tsarina Alexandra, the wife of Tsar Nicholas II. A woman of privilege and power, the grand duchess enjoyed all of the luxuries Russia had to offer until the murder of the Tsar Nicholas and his family. But this story also centers on Pavel, the son of serfs, who seeks a new life in St. Petersburg. The lives of Pavel and Elisavyeta intertwine as revolution changes them and their country. Both of these characters, one coming from privilege and the other from poverty, are well-defined and represent the chaos of their times.

The captivating ending to this book is tragic, where violence begets more violence, yet Alexander captures the humanity of both characters.

By Robert Alexander,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Romanov Bride as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling tale of Romanov intrigue from the author of The Kitchen Boy

Book groups and historical fiction buffs have made Robert Alexander's two previous novels word-of-mouth favorites and national bestsellers. Set against a backdrop of Imperial Russia's twilight, The Romanov Bride has the same enduring appeal. The Grand Duchess Elisavyeta's story begins like a fairy tale-a German princess renowned for her beauty and kind heart marries the Grand Duke Sergei of Russia and enters the Romanov's lavish court. Her husband, however, rules his wife as he does Moscow-with a cold, hard fist. And, after a peaceful demonstration becomes a…


Book cover of Disappearing Earth

Joan Silber Author Of Secrets of Happiness

From my list on linking characters who seem to be strangers.

Why am I passionate about this?

One of my favorite bits of praise for my books was Michael Silverblatt, of KCRW, saying, "There is no one else like her—she invents a new improvised form for her fiction." The last five books of fiction I’ve written (my total is nine) have been webs, spinning out from one character to another, across different times and places. It lets me be intimate and distant both at once. So I’ve naturally loved reading writers who’ve done this in various ways. People like to quote John Berger saying, “Never again shall a single story be told as though it were the only one,” and I’m in line with that. 

Joan's book list on linking characters who seem to be strangers

Joan Silber Why did Joan love this book?

This novel takes place in Kamchatka, in Far East Russia, and begins with the abduction of two young sisters. Each chapter then carries us into the life of a whole other character, and we get engrossed in her fate, as events move through the course of a year. The shadow of the missing girls arises every so often, and then we forget them, until they appear with brilliant drama toward the end of the book. The novel becomes a whodunit—and I suppose all mysteries are tasked with connecting improbables—that links its sequences in deep and moving ways.

By Julia Phillips,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Disappearing Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of The New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year

National Book Award Finalist
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize
Finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
Finalist for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award 

National Best Seller

"Splendidly imagined . . . Thrilling" --Simon Winchester
"A genuine masterpiece" --Gary Shteyngart

Spellbinding, moving--evoking a fascinating region on the other side of the world--this suspenseful and haunting story announces the debut of a profoundly gifted writer.

One August afternoon, on the shoreline of the Kamchatka peninsula at the northeastern edge…


Book cover of The Last Flight

JB Schroeder Author Of Runaway

From my list on women confronting danger to reclaim their lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love stories about everyday people ripped out of their normal lives and forced to face the craziest situations head-on. I mean, can you even imagine? Could you find a way to survive and win? To face down life-threatening danger and evil people and rise from the ashes stronger and smarter? I’m pretty sure I’d kill if it meant protecting my children…but strand me in the wilderness and I’d likely perish from eating the wrong berries. I hate to be hungry, but I love to bring edgy romantic suspense and twisty psychological suspense to readers. Enjoy!

JB's book list on women confronting danger to reclaim their lives

JB Schroeder Why did JB love this book?

Perhaps don’t choose this one if you are getting on a flight, otherwise—read it now! Two women are desperate to escape their lives. They both come up with plans that involve brave cunning and sheer determination—but a twist of fate makes those plans collide. The author keeps the twists coming (I was so impressed) and you won’t guess them all (even more impressed). It’s gripping, page-turning, fascinating—and everyone I’ve recommended this book to has also loved it!

By Julie Clark,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Last Flight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY BESTSELLER, & INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER!
"The Last Flight is thoroughly absorbing-not only because of its tantalizing plot and deft pacing, but also because of its unexpected poignancy and its satisfying, if bittersweet, resolution. The characters get under your skin."-The New York Times Book Review
Two women. Two flights. One last chance to disappear.
Claire Cook has a perfect life. Married to the scion of a political dynasty, with a Manhattan townhouse and a staff of ten, her surroundings are elegant, her days flawlessly choreographed, and her future auspicious. But behind closed doors, nothing is…


Book cover of The Day of the Jackal

David Z. Pyke Author Of Rescuing Crockett

From my list on elements of historical adventure fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for historical adventure and Texas history stems from my heritage: I’m a native Texan related to one of the Alamo defenders. My great-great-great-great-great-granduncle, Isaac Millsaps, was one of the Immortal 32, the reinforcements from Gonzales who answered William Barret Travis's call for help, rode to San Antonio, and died in the Alamo on March 6, 1836. My relationship with words began in elementary school, where I read Beowulf and Dracula by the time I was 10 years old (probably explains a lot about me). I began writing for newspapers in 1975 and have been writing professionally ever since.

David's book list on elements of historical adventure fiction

David Z. Pyke Why did David love this book?

I chose this for authenticity. Newsday's review said it was "chillingly real" and "the reader himself seems to be traveling with 'the Jackal.'"

That’s because Forsyth, as a foreign correspondent working in Europe and Africa, knew assassins, mercenaries, and arms dealers, which allowed him to craft fantastic but believable characters, settings, and situations. Forsyth opens the novel with the depiction of a real assassination attempt, employs historical figures, locations, and details, then seamlessly weaves his fictional plot into this authentic world.

Forsyth reveals lives most of us can only imagine, and he shows that wall-to-wall suspense does not require wall-to-wall action, but is built on plausible intrigue, sustained tension, and excellent writing.

By Frederick Forsyth,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Day of the Jackal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Day of the Jackal is the electrifying story of the struggle to catch a killer before it's too late.

It is 1963 and an anonymous Englishman has been hired by the Operations Chief of the O.A.S. to murder General De Gaulle. A failed attempt in the previous year means the target will be nearly impossible to get to. But this latest plot involves a lethal weapon: an assassin of legendary talent.

Known only as The Jackal, this remorseless and deadly killer must be stopped, but how do you track a man who exists in name alone?


Book cover of In Her Wake

Rachel Hore Author Of The Hidden Years

From my list on making you fall in love with Cornwall again.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a UK bestselling writer of historical fiction who has often used Cornwall as a setting. I wrote about a lost garden and a colony of Edwardian artists in The Memory Garden, about the Second World War in A Gathering Storm and The Hidden Years. My father was Cornish, which meant wonderful childhood holidays spent in the county. I fell in love with its breathtakingly beautiful landscapes - rugged cliffs, picturesque fishing villages, expansive sandy beaches where the sea thunders in. I’ve feasted on its history and legends, and on stories of danger, romance, and adventure set in the region. It’s fulfilled a dream to have written my own.    

Rachel's book list on making you fall in love with Cornwall again

Rachel Hore Why did Rachel love this book?

As a writer I admit that I’m beguiled by Cornwall as a literary setting for high romance and adventure, yet it’s important to me to remember that ordinary people live and work there. 

I was impressed by In Her Wake because it manages to encompass both extremes. Its overarching gothic narrative about a stolen child is used by the author to examine the extraordinary experience of some very humble, loving people whose lives have been put into suspension by tragedy. It’s incredibly moving and truthful.

By Amanda Jennings,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked In Her Wake as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A perfect life ... until she discovered it wasn't her own.

A tragic family event reveals devastating news that rips apart Bella's comfortable existence. Embarking on a personal journey to uncover the truth, she faces a series of traumatic discoveries that take her to the ruggedly beautiful Cornish coast, where hidden truths, past betrayals and a 25-year-old mystery threaten not just her identity, but also her life.

Chilling, complex and profoundly moving, In Her Wake is a gripping psychological thriller that questions the nature of family - and reminds us that sometimes the most shocking crimes are committed closest to…


Book cover of The Bourne Identity

Frank Zafiro Author Of The Last Horseman

From my list on action with thrills that could really happen.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a cop for twenty years. And while I always saw True Crime as a busman’s holiday, I loved crime fiction all along. Eventually my own writing took me there, as well. I love how crime fiction, much like good science fiction, explores the nature of human behavior in a way that isn’t as prevalent in other genres. As a result, I’ve read widely in the field, always gravitating toward the darker and grittier entries. The lone wolf protagonists who either live by a code or undergo a fascinating change within the book or series has also been my focus.

Frank's book list on action with thrills that could really happen

Frank Zafiro Why did Frank love this book?

Thanks to Hollywood adaptations and sometimes a greedy publisher, a great series can diminish as time passes. But that doesn’t change how cool the original was.

I love the setup of a man waking on a sailing vessel with no memory, only to discover his identity as super espionage agent. The mystery of the scenario and the intrigue as Bourne unravels his own personhood was so well done in this first book (and the first film was an excellent adaptation), and it is worth revisiting.

By Robert Ludlum,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Bourne Identity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jason Bourne is back in the forthcoming major motion picture starring Matt Damon and Alicia Vikander. Go back to where it all began for Bourne in his first adventure - The Bourne Identity

He was dragged from the sea, his body riddled with bullets. There are a few clues: a frame of microfilm surgically implanted beneath the skin of his hip; evidence that plastic surgery has altered his face; strange things he says in his delirium, which could be code words. And a number on the film negative that leads to a bank account in Zurich, four million dollars, and…


Book cover of The Changeling

Tobi Ogundiran Author Of Jackal, Jackal: Tales of the Dark and Fantastic

From my list on modern mythology and folktale for the curious.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am fascinated with mythology in all its shapes and forms. It fascinates me how cultures the world over have similar pantheons, for example, without any cultural cross-pollination. What I like to do in my fiction is blend various myths to create something new. And sometimes I create my own myths. It takes a curious, imaginative mind to come up with these myths, and most importantly a child-like sense of wonder, which, sadly, is extinguished by society as one is forced to “grow up”. I don’t ever want to lose that sense of wonder—to observe the world and see beauty and possibilities at every corner—so I preserve and interrogate it in my fiction.

Tobi's book list on modern mythology and folktale for the curious

Tobi Ogundiran Why did Tobi love this book?

The world of The Changeling is strange and exhilarating. At first we are presented with what seems like a mundane NYC, but then the edges start to bleed as a more fantastical, deliciously disturbing world seeps into and disrupts the ordinary.

At the core of the story is a family and the lengths they go to protect each other. There are so many reasons this book resonated with me, but particularly for this reason—the idea that if only you pay close attention, you will see that a more fantastical world dwells at the edge of our own.

This is an idea I tackle in my own book, where myths and legends, and fairytales come to life. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it. Everyone who reads The Changeling will be… changed.

By Victor LaValle,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Changeling as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Apollo Kagwa was just a child, his father disappeared, leaving him with recurring nightmares and a box labelled 'Improbabilia'. Now a successful book dealer, Kagwa has a family of his own after meeting and falling in love with Emma, a librarian. The two marry and have a baby: so far so happy-ever-after.

However, as the pair settle into their new lives as parents, exhaustion and anxiety start to take their toll. Emma's behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, until one day she commits an unthinkable act, setting Apollo on a wild and fantastical quest through a suddenly otherworldly New York, in…


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