Monday, September 22, 2014

The Diamond Secret

The Diamond Secret is a YA retold fairytale, one of the Once Upon a Time books, by Suzanne Weyn.

When Nadya is told by two handsome mean in the Russian tavern she is working in as a waitress that they believe they know who she is and that they’d like to take her to her grandmother, she cannot help but hope it is all true.

Plagued with memory loss and the fear that she is or was insane – due to being found after a time in an asylum before the Bolsheviks turned them out – her life is not ideal. It’s better than when she was living on the street, but just barely.

Agreeing to accompany the young men, if only because she has little to lose either way, Nadya soon embarks on a journey to Paris – and out of the Revolution torn Russia in 1919.

Yet there is more to the young men’s plans than they initially tell her – and they aren’t bringing her to just any grandmother – but exiled Dowager Empress Marie.

And she is to be Anastasia…

The Diamond Secret
felt very familiar – I’ll be honest. There’s a lot of movies out there – both older black and whites, such as one I remember with Yul Brenner, and the newer animated Disney film – that carry a very similar premise and plot.

Yet, The Diamond Secret is very readable. It’s enjoyable, quick paced and has a good historically atmospheric setting. My biggest issue was that it doesn’t really fit into the series for a couple of reasons. The long held rumor that Anastasia escaped death amidst the execution of the Romanoffs may be unlikely, but I’d hardly call it a fairytale. But if you’re going to retell it as a fairytale, why not add a little magic, a little fantasy?

Suzanne Weyn keeps The Diamond Secret strictly a YA historical novel. Is that bad? No. But it significantly effects expectations.

However, in the end I really did like The Diamond Secret. It was sad, really, that the story could not be true. I appreciated the way the author spun a “What if?” that would fit into true history.

All in all a good read – but not really a fairytale.

1 comment: said...

I haven't read anything in the series (I'm actually not familiar with the series at all), but I'm definitely with you that Anastasia's not really a good fit for a fairy tale series. Also, on a side note, the cover makes it look like a cheap adult romance novel, which certainly doesn't make me excited to pick it up. Nonetheless, I will have to check out this series!