Dreaming Anastasia (Dreaming Anastasia Series #1)by Joy Preble
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/p>/strong>/em>
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
"The novel is cleverly written in alternating points of view (Anastasia, Anne, and Ethan) and takes you on a ride of paranormal fantasy, contemporary and historical fiction, with a little bit of romance. It's the perfect blend that will attract a variety of readers." - Examiner.com
"I really enjoyed this book. It made me want to research the Romanov family and the fairy tale character of Baba Yaga... DREAMING ANASTASIA is easy to read and an enjoyable story. Thank you, Ms. Preble, for a great read." - TeensReadToo.com
"Dreaming Anastasia is a story of love and loss on many different levels. It was a wild, fun and sweetly romantic ride." - Galleysmith.com
"Dreaming Anastasia is a fun young adult fantasy that takes the reader back and forth from current-day Chicago to the time of the Romanovs, and throws in elements of a Russian folktale for added chills." - MsBookish.com
"Joy Preble has given readers an intriguing tale of magic, tragedy, love, and betrayal... Be prepared to fall into this story; your heart will ache for the characters and what they've suffered, especially Anastasia. Lovers of fantasy and romance will not be disappointed, and a sudden twist at the end will leave readers eyes wide and mouths agape... Dreaming Anastasia will most definitely be gracing my shelves from now on. " - YABooksCentral.com
Read an Excerpt
By JOY PREBLE
Sourcebooks, Inc.Copyright © 2009 Joy Preble
All right reserved.
Chapter OneDowntown 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 somuch. 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?"
"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.
Chicago, 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.
Excerpted from Dreaming Anastasia by JOY PREBLE Copyright © 2009 by Joy Preble. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Joy Preble grew up in Chicago where possibly because she was raised by an accountant and a bookkeepershe dreamed of being a back up singer, but instead earned an English degree from Northwestern. Eventually, she began to write books so she could get paid for making up stuff. She now lives in Texas with her family, including a basset/boxer mix rescue dog named Lyla who never met a shoe she didn't want to eat. Visit Joy at joypreble.com
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
Anne is a typical American high school student. She is more worried about what college she will get into than Russian history. But she keeps having a strange dream over and over again. This dream is about Anastasia, the youngest daughter of Tzar Nicholas. Nicholas was the last reining Tzar of Russia and his whole family was gunned down in the basement of their house. Then in walks Ethan. He is an attractive stranger who seems to know Anne and is stalking her. Add a lacquered box that depicts the fairy tale of Baba Yaga along with the mention that her mother used to enjoy the stories of Russia as well, and you have a compelling story full of romance and mystery. Oh, and did I mention the blue light coming off Anne's hands, or the arms that come from the sky to try to take Anne away, or the house on chicken feet? I really enjoyed this book. It made me want to research the Romanov family and the fairy tale character of Baba Yaga. I loved the characters, especially Anne's best friend, Tess, who seems to be in the right place at the right time. She defines the expression, "I've got your back." DREAMING ANASTASIA is easy to read and an enjoyable story. Thank you, Ms. Preble, for a great read.
As a person who is Russian and knows about Russian history, I found this book quite interesting.I wound even say funny because of Baba Yaga and all this story about Anastasia Romanov. But,anyway, I really liked that book and I think Joy Preble is very talented writer. I recommend this book to all readers who just want to read about love,magic and the power of dreams...
There are so many characters that come together to make this story work. It is well written and well rounded(adventure, mystery,magic,lineage,romance, betrayal, etc...) I enjoyed the historical aspect of the Romanov's as well. Looking forward to reading the next book.
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.
Before I even start to tell you how magnificent I think that this book is, let me tell you that I have been fascinated by the story of the Romanov's since probably Junior High when I wrote a term paper on them. Ever since I've read quite a bit on the family and their fate. When I saw the theme of this book I really was dying to get my hands on it. I was really hoping for something really great and I wasn't disappointed at all in this debut novel by Joy Preble. After reading the synopsis above I had really high hopes for this fantasy adventure and over and over while I read I was rewarded. I'd recommend this to any adult who's been interested in this story. Preble has woven a wonderful story that embraces the Romanov legend and gives it a bit of a twist. Even young readers who aren't knowledgeable about the Romanov's won't be lost in the story. By telling it from three different perspectives it's all laid out well and easy to understand. While this book is listed as a YA book, it's definitely one that parents can pick up and be just as thrilled with. The action never really stops in this book and I found myself hating to put it down for things like eating and sleeping ;) I found the dialogue between characters to be very believable, and the action was fast-paced and really moved the story along. Interspersed with the story of Anne and Ethan there were handwritten letters that Anastasia writes to her family that tell the story of the Romanov family. This is definitely one you'll be happy to see your teen reading. I'd give this book 5 stars! I absolutely loved this one!
Oh My God! This book was awesome!! Okay so this book is about Anne who is just a regular high school girl, or so she thinks. Anne soon notices the same boy(Ethan) following her, Anne also starts having these dreams about Anastasia and Baba Yaga. Then she leaves school and Baba Yaga's hands come out of the sky and try to grab her, but Ethan saves her. Then he explains everything to Anne... it turns out when Anastasia's family was murdered a group called the brotherhood made a deal with Baba Yaga to keep Anastasia alive, so Baba Yagab took Anastasia to her hut with chicken legs(so it can move from place to place) to keep her alive and safe, ever since the brotherhood have been immortal seaching for the girl who can find Baba Yaga's hut and save Anastasia. Well it turns out Anne is that girl. Together Ethan and Anne try and find Baba Yagas hut to save Anastasia. My over all thought were 3 things... #1 why arent there more books with Russian folklore? #2 this book is freaken geinus and #3 is their a second? (their is a second it's called Haunted and their is a third called Anastasia forever) I think anyone who likes folklore with a awesome twist, or adventure or just a good read will like this book, so come on get the book allready!!!! A book review by a major book worm
I have always been a fan of learning about what happen to Anastasia Romanov. And when I found this book i was so excited. It was so intersting what may have happen if any of the details Joy Preble wrote was real. If you read this book you have to read the next two books!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Let me say first that I am fascinated by historical mysteries, like Anastasia Romanov, so I was immediately intrigued. But on the whole, Dreaming Anastasia has everything a great fiction novel needs - actual historical fact, legend, mystery, suspense, girl meets boy, and supernatural events. I especially appreciate the fact that while the relationship between the two protagonists is compelling, it is not the focal point of the plot. The protagonists have lives and purpose beyond their romantic interest, as do we all, and so it was easy to get swept up in the story. Joy Preble rocks her debut novel, and it's exciting to see my sophomore English teacher receive national acclaim.
this book is the perfect mix of history, magic, and mystery. you should seriously read this book!
I really liked this story. I thought that it was well written and easy to follow. The book never really has a dull moment which makes it very hard to put down. The love story could have had a stronger presence but I guess that wasn't the main focus of the book. I recommend this book to anyone that likes myths, history, and the supernatural. Great Book!!
it started off a little slow but it was totally worth reading by the end i was hoping there was more! this was a amazing sotry if you like Russian history or not!
I LOVE THIS BOOK IT IS AMAZING
I love the wonder around the story of Anastasia and this book used the story well!! There was a little romance, a lot of action, and enough mystery to keep anyone's attention! Amazing! I wish i had enough money for the next one. There's three in the series so far, idk if that's it or if there's more coming, but it's totally worth the read! :)
I love this book, i couldn't put it down, joy preble is an awsome writter, she needs to continue with writting:)
I like this is about a gril whom discovers she reincarnation of anastasia. This a easy and fun read.
"Dreaming Anastasia" had historical influences with references to the Romanov rule and their fall in Russia. Also, a Russian folklore come to life was a the core of the story. There was adventure, romance, history, magic. What more can a reader ask for? Bear in mind that this novel is the first of a trilogy. The third and final book is due to be released in the fall of 2012.