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My Anastasia: Book ReportWritten by: Sharon Stewart Shenil KhanA girl named Dunia runs away from her home, and then meets a young princess named Anastasia. The two of them become best of friends, and Dunia’s life couldn’t be happier, until Russia comes to face Revolution. My Anastasia is about the friendship of two girls from entirely different worlds. This book takes place in August, 1911, in a tiny village in the forests of Siberia, Russia – Dunia’s Hometown. The author, Sharon Stewart, is known for her many books about Historical Fiction including The Princess in the Tower.Dunia is a young girl who is very honest and is determine to find peace from the suffering and torture she faces in her own home. Anastatsia, however is the complete opposite of her. Dunia’s family doesn’t have much money either, living on a farm among many other villagers’ homes, in the forest. While Anastasia is apart of the Royal Family living with luxury in their palace. At first, these two don’t get along, but their quarrels turn into a tight bond, no one can break. The story begins with Dunia, waking up cold and aching, on top of a pile of straw in their barn. Her father Big Ivan, had beaten her up last night. She won’t call him father anymore, because of the beatings he gives her now. Before, when her mother was alive, things were different. She knew how to soften the father’s heart, telling them stories and the three of them were forever happy. But last winter had been terribly cold, and her mother became very ill, sadly passing away the next day. Dunia’s life became very miserable after that, as one day her father brought a woman back to the village with him, who will be her new step mother. She was very mean and harsh on Dunia, making her do dirty work, and barely giving her any food. One day while doing one of her chores, she noticed her feet started to lead her, and then she realised they were talking her away from her home, and they seemed to know the way.After 5 days of surviving with wolves and other danger in the forest, Dunia’s feet carried her out to a wonderful village, nothing compared to the one where she lived. While wandering around she hears a sudden chatter followed by a man who reels out of a tavern door, which shuts behind him. He lays on the ground not making a sound nor moving. Curious to know, Dunia goes to check on him. The man, Grigory, feels her going through his pockets, accuses her of stealing, soon falls asleep, clutching tightly onto her wrist. Soon enough he wakes up, gets to his feet, and drags Dunia along with him, asking her questions to find out more about her well-being. After hearing about her survival in the forest, he figured God must’ve been leading her.He brought her to his home, and insisted on helping her. His wife however, thought otherwise. But as ordered she took Dunia inside, discovering lice in her hair. She and a maid gave her a bath with boiling hot water and lamp oil poured onto her. She was then put into a fresh set of clothing, and was given a bowl of  delicious food to eat. Something Dunia has always dreamed of. Then, Grigory’s wife, Praskovaya, and the maid took attempt to comb out the knots, bark, and lice from her hair. After many failed attempts, Praskovaya took to chopping of all of Dunia’s hair. At this moment, Dunia wasn’t having the best time of her life. She screamed as she touched her head, knowing it would take years to grow it all back.Grigory thought for a while, and said: “Maybe God is telling me I’ve been away from Petersburg too long, and I have to go back to do his work. Maybe this child has something to do with it.” With that, he decided he’ll bring Dunia along with him on his trip. They soon come across the Palace where Princess Anastasia lives, and Grigory tells them Dunia will be staying with them for a while. This is the start of her new life.The conflict of the story is Dunia’s life becomes miserable after her mothers death, with her father’s beatings and her new step mothers harsh work.The resolution to this is when Dunia is led by her feet to the start of her peace, where she’ll soon find Princess Anastasia, and she’ll be having a wonderful time,  but little does she know Russia is falling into the hands of war. This lead to the Climax, how Dunia and Anastasia are living during the war, and how quick their lives turned around. This also shows the tough bond between their friendship, and how they help each other.While reading the book, I noticed the vocabulary contained a lot of Russian names and words. Which gave me a chance to learn more about Russian cuIture, and their language as I read. I also noticed that the choice of words made it truly feel like it was spoken with an accent, and matched the setting. The grammar also lets out an early 1900s english feeling. I feel like the author’s writing style is intended to be old fashioned and is very descriptive, which made me enjoy reading it.The theme of this book is, if you are courageous, brave, determined, and persevered, you can achieve your goals.The mood and tone of this book was indeed adventerous, how we were with Dunia on her big journey, facing each of the obstacles she faced by her side, her mothers passing, torture and pain, Settling in with a wealthier and royal family, and of course the WW1. Dunia’s determination andperserverance, was the key to her happiness. It was also very scary, having to live during the war, I felt scared for Dunia.I didn’t have many thoughtful questions while reading the book, but I do wonder what would’ve happened/changed in the story if “Dunia’s feet” or perhaps “God” hadn’t led her to Grigory’s Village? Maybe it was just her luck or truly was help from God, or she had hope and faith and it was all from her own mind? Either way, it would’ve been interesting to have that plot twist, making the reader think Dunia’s finally finding her peace, but really Grigory was a bad person, and she’s really falling into a trap. It would be interesting to read about the solution for that situation, or leaving us with a cliffhanger, so we can continue to determine all the possible endings.In my opinion this was a very interesting story and was written to catch the reader’s attention. It caught mine perfectly, with the right choice of words, characters, setting, and description. Overall, this book was very well written, and I enjoyed it very much. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down.

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