Teri Wilson takes the modern legend of Anastasia gives it a fresh twist in Royally Romanov. I adored Maxim and Finley’s story – it’s sweet without being cloying, fun, romantic, and fast-paced. Add in the mystery surrounding Maxim and whether or not he’s the grandson of the Grand Duchess Anastasia and you have one addictive story.
Finley loves her work as assistant curator at the Louvre. Her upcoming exhibit on the Romanovs could help secure her a much-coveted promotion, but her hard work is threatened by the arrival of Maxim. Maxim has just recently been brutally attacked and the head injury he suffered wiped out his memory. All he has are a few clues which lead him to believe he is the grandson of the Grand Duchess Anastasia. If his claims are true, then all the art Finley has borrowed from various museums for the exhibit would belong to him, which would ruin the reputation of the Louvre and make Finley unemployable. Maxim has to be a con man…right?
Ms. Wilson does an excellent job of updating and putting her own spin on the Ingrid Bergman/Yul Brynner classic. I watched Anastasia right before starting Royally Romanov, and though it feels almost blasphemous to say, I actually preferred Finley and Maxim’s story to the film that inspired it. Finley and Maxim are both incredibly likeable characters who have both suffered trauma and their meeting is the catalyst for each to come into their own. The two of them have excellent chemistry and though they fell in love rather quickly, their romance charmed me so much that I didn’t care. I loved watching them work to put the pieces of Maxim’s identity together, and I enjoyed how Ms. Wilson kept me guessing as to whether or not Maxim is a Romanov. There’s just the right amount of intrigue mixed with romance in this story, and that makes it very difficult to put the book down.
It’d be remiss of me to write about Royally Romanov and not mention the backdrop of Paris. Ms. Wilson brings Paris vividly to life and I just itched to hop on a plane and visit the places she described, particularly the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. Royally Romanov shines in every scene set in the famous bookstore and Finley’s love of the place and – more importantly – her love for literature shines through and grabbed my heart.
Royally Romanov is the second book in the Royals series, but it is a standalone. Unless things change in the third book, Royally Roma, Royally Romanov, and Royal Wedding are connected by theme rather than characters. After finishing Finley and Maxim’s story, I cannot wait to read the next Royals book because I just love how Ms. Wilson reimagines classics. Royally Romanov made me smile and sigh, and I just plain adored Finley and Maxim’s romance. It’s the perfect escapist read.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.