Friday, March 7, 2014

Guest Post by J. Nelle Patrick (Tsarina)

Hi guys! Today, I'm really excited to introduce J. Nelle Patrick (a.k.a. Jackson Pierce) onto Bookcase to Heaven™ to talk about Anastasia, one of the side characters in her February 27th YA release, TSARINA (Razorbill), as part of the TSARINA Blog Tour.

One of my all-time favorite animated movies is Anastasia (1997) and I am absolutely smitten with Dimitri and Anastasia-- definitely my favorite animated couple, hands-down. TSARINA is about Anastasia's brother, Alexei, and all the political intrigue, decadent luxury, fanatic mysticism (think: Rasputin) of the Tsarist era. Just take a look at the cover-- so pretty, isn't it?

There's a giveaway at the end of the post, so do hop by to try your luck.

Now, without further ado, let me pass the blog over to Jackson!


Imperial Russia swirls with rebellion.


The Reds are gaining ground, and the loyal Whites struggle to hold Saint Petersburg. But Natalya isn’t afraid. Wrapped in fur and tucked inside her lavish home, she feels safe. Alexei Romanov, heir to the Russian throne and her first love, has told her a secret: Hidden within the Winter Palace lies a Faberge Egg enchanted by the mystic Rasputin. With it, the Romanovs will never fall from power. The Reds will never take the country. And one day, Alexei will ascend the throne and Natalya will be beside him— the tsarina of Russia. 


But when the Reds raid the Winter Palace, the egg vanishes and the Romanovs are captured. Natalya must find the egg to save Alexei, her way of life, and her royal future. To do so, she’s forced to ally herself with the enemy— a young Red named Leo who wants the egg for his own purposes. But as they brave a war-battered landscape of snow and magic, Natalya realizes that the world isn’t as simple as it seemed back in Saint Petersburg. Nothing– not friends, not politics, and not love– are as clear as Red and White.

The Anastasia Story


Anastasia.

She’s everyone’s favorite Romanov. In fact, she’s usually the only Romanov people know by name. If you’ve been reading the other posts in this blog tour, you already know that the animated Anastasia movie is basically all lies (link to that blog post here, please!). Why?

Because she’s the one who supposedly escaped and survived the executions.

Before I go on, I have to tell you something— this blog post is going to get kind of dark. So, to help, I’m going to put some photos of kittens here and there. If things are getting too dark for you, look at the kittens, okay?

(http://www.bilgilinks.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/kedi10.jpg)

Okay. Here we go.


Who was Anastasia?


Anastasia was the youngest of the Romanov sisters— her brother, Alexei, was the youngest over all. She was a pretty delightful and mischievous kid— one of the family doctors said she “held the record for punishable deeds in the family”. She played outdoors, liked acting, and was especially close to the other younger sister, Maria, who she shared a room with. When she grew older, she would visit the Red Cross hospital and play checkers with wounded soldiers and occasionally write poetry. Simply put, she was pretty cool. I think you would have liked her.

http://31.media.tumblr.com/7df128ae9ebc99751eb9458e8745d12f/tumblr_mo8iuf1BW51qbioujo1_500.gif (Anastasia and her siblings)


What happened to her?


The entire Romanov family was executed in Ekaterinberg by a group of Reds who’d had them under various forms of house arrest for over a year. The execution was brutal— I won’t go into detail, but know that I cried over it several times while researching TSARINA. Actually, if I think about it too hard, I still cry over it.

(http://images4.fanpop.com/image/photos/16200000/Kitten-pic-cute-kittens-16292210-1024-768.jpg)


Why do so many people think she survived the execution?


When the bodies of the Romanov family were excavated in 1991, they’d been exposed to the elements so long they were skeletonized. Through DNA and skeletal analysis, they were able to sort out who the Tsar and Tsarina were, as well as the handful of servants that had been executed with them. They also were able to identify Olga and Tatiana, the oldest two Romanov sisters, and then a third skeleton, which they believed to be Maria.

And then they were out of skeletons. Anastasia and Alexei weren’t there.

Actually, it could have been Maria and Alexei that were missing— the Russian scientists said that Anastasia was that third found skeleton, and it was Maria who was unaccounted for, while the American scientists working the case said it the third found skeleton was Maria and Anastasia was the missing daughter. Maria and Anastasia were similar in size and, obviously, would have the same mitochondria DNA since they had the same parents, so it was impossible to tell for sure. For the sake of this post, let’s assume Anastasia was the missing daughter.


So, doesn’t that mean it’s possible she and Alexei survived?


It never was particularly likely, seeing as how the soldiers who were there that night insisted that everyone was killed. I mean, why kill the servants and the dogs (seriously— they killed the family’s dogs) if you’re just going to let a legitimate heir to the throne survive?

But, the whole matter was put to bed in 2007, when two final skeletons were found in the forest near Ekaterinberg. These skeletons were in really bad shape. While the other skeletons had been burned and buried, these had been cut up, smashed, and appeared to have acid damage. The theory is that the Reds didn’t want anyone to know that the royal family was dead— at least not right away— so they wanted to do a really, really good job of hiding the bodies. Because Anastasia and Alexei were the smallest…

(you’re going to need a kitten for this)
(http://images4.fanpop.com/image/photos/16100000/Cute-Kitten-kittens-16122946-1280-800.jpg)

…the Reds used their bodies to test out various disposal techniques— like dissolving them in acid, burning them, throwing them down a well, etc. When that didn’t work, they decided it was easiest to just bury the rest of the family and leave Anastasia and Alexei’s bodies elsewhere. They were hoping that anyone who found the bodies would assume these were just regular-old-graves, since the number of bodies wouldn’t match the number of missing Romanovs.


I heard some lady says she’s the real Anastasia.


Yeah, that lady is lying. Or maybe she’s just confused. I don’t know. Over the years, dozens of people have claimed to be Anastasia. Some have even claimed to be Maria, Tatiana, or Olga, and a few men have insisted that they’re Alexei. I would love itif that were true, but it’s not. DNA proves that the entire Romanov family is accounted for, now. Even if we can’t be totally sure whether it was Maria or Anastasia temporarily lost with Alexei, we now have seven bodies to match with seven family members.


Where is Anastasia now?


Before Anastasia and Alexei’s bodies were found, Russia held a state funeral for the other Romanovs, and interred them in the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. You can see video from the funeral services here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIuXXR8n9Sc

When Anastasia and Alexei were found, their bodies were interred alongside the rest of their family. They’re all together now in the St. Catherine chapel of the Cathedral.

Here is something that I think you should remember though: The most interesting thing about Anastasia isn’t the theory that she might have survived. The most interesting thing about Anastasia is that, really, she wasn’t that interesting. She was just like you, or me, or any other teenager. She happened to be royalty, sure, but she also loved her siblings, was a bad speller, ate too much chocolate, and had a purple bedroom with butterflies on the walls.

So, instead of remembering what didn’t happen her escape— maybe we can remember the things that did happen, and the Romanov family as they really were: People.

People with kittens, in fact:

(http://www.livadia.org/ana/1907-1912/6.jpg)



*

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

J. Nelle Patrick is the pseduonym for twenty-nine year old Jackson Pearce. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with a slightly cross-eyed cat and a lot of secondhand furniture. She graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in English and a minor in Philosophy. She auditioned for the circus once, but didn’t make it; other jobs she’s had include obituaries writer, biker bar waitress, and receptionist. She currently coaches a winterguard at a local high school.


Jackson began writing when she got angry that the school librarian couldn’t tell her of a book that contained a smart girl, horses, baby animals, and magic. Her solution was to write the book herself when she was twelve. Her parents thought it was cute at first, but have grown steadily more concerned for her ever since.

Jackson is also the author of a series of retold fairytales.

GIVEAWAY (Yay!)

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xoxo,
Sel

1 comment:

  1. It's such an interesting and horrible historical story. While I love the animation movie, it's also good to remember what truly happened. The executions were so gruesome.. I liked reading this, so thanks for sharing Sel!

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