Monday, July 17, 2017

Review: Royally Romanov by Teri Wilson

Royally Romanov by Teri Wilson
Series: The Royals, Book 2
Publisher: Pocket Star
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9781501160509
Release Date: July 17, 2017
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

In this charming modern day retelling of the 1956 classic Anastasia, a museum curator falls for a mysterious man who may or may not be a long lost heir to Russia’s imperial Romanov dynasty.

Finley Abbot is organizing the most prestigious art exhibit of her career at the Louvre museum—a retrospective of art from the House of Romanov. But the sudden appearance of Maxim Romanov threatens to turn her into the biggest laughingstock of the art world. When she finds herself falling in love, she realizes there’s even more at stake than her career. How can she trust a man with her whole world when he can’t remember a thing about his past?

After suffering a violent blow to the head, Maxim’s only clue to his identity is a notebook containing carefully researched documentation in his own handwriting indicating that he is the sole surviving descendant of the Grand Duchess Anastasia, previously thought dead in the murder of her family during Russia’s Bolshevik revolution. His struggle to put the mysterious pieces of his past back together leads him to Finley. At first, she’s convinced Maxim is nothing but a con artist. But there’s something undeniably captivating about the beautiful, brooding man who claims to be searching for his identity—something Finley can’t quite bring herself to resist. When he reveals a secret about one of the imperial FabergĂ© eggs in the collection, she accepts he may actually be telling the truth. But as soon as Finley and Maxim act on their feelings for one another, Maxim is confronted with evidence that calls into question everything he’s begun to believe about himself.

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.