by Kathryn Williams
Published by HarperTeen
Release Date: January 11th 2022
Format Read: eBook
With the mystery of Maureen Johnson and Brittany Cavallo and the historical intrigue of Romanov, this enthralling story follows a teenage girl’s quest to uncover the truth behind her secretive great aunt Anna, who just might be the long lost Russian princess Anastasia.
It’s not every day you discover you might be related to Anastasia…or that the tragic princess actually survived her assassination attempt and has been living as the woman you know as Aunt Anna.
For Jess Morgan, who is growing tired of living her life to please everyone else, discovering her late aunt’s diaries shows her she’s not the only one struggling to hide who she really is. But was her aunt truly a Romanov princess? Or is this some elaborate hoax?
With the help of a supremely dorky, but undeniably cute, local college student named Evan, Jess digs into the century-old mystery.
But soon Jess realizes there’s another, bigger truth waiting to be revealed: Jess Morgan. Because if she’s learned anything from Aunt Anna, it’s that only you can write your own story.
Part mystery, romance, and historical fiction, this genre-bending YA will pull readers into one girl’s journey of discovering the impossible tale of a long-lost aunt—and through her, the importance of being true to yourself.
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Lately I have become obsessed with Russian history. Maybe it was reading the Winternight trilogy by Katharine Arden (which ranks my most beloved series, and one which I have posted about here quite a bit already), or perhaps it was finally watching The Great on Hulu (highly, highly recommend), either way I am always primed for Russian themes during the course of blustery winter. That said, when I picked up Kathryn Williams’ debut novel, The Storyteller, I had totally forgotten it held a Russian theme.
Despair not, soon Russian history takes center stage as Jess Morgan, a 17-year-old high school senior discovers her great-aunt Anna may actually be the long-lost Russian princess, Anastasia. Whether you’re a history addict or an aging millennial who grew up watching Disney’s Anastasia on repeat, you will enjoy this fun historical fiction meets contemporary coming of age story.
That said, if you’re an aging millennial like me you might also find yourself yearning for a bit more drama and descriptive intrigue. This book is solidly in the YA camp, so while it might perfectly encapsulate some of the insecurities and innocence of teenagers, I struggled to build a solid connection with the main character, Jess. Put plainly, it was hard for me to empathize with her perspective.
In the end though The Storyteller was a fun pallet cleanser. After yet another year spent comfort reading my favorite YA fantasy novels, The Storyteller was a light return to reality seeped in a historical mystery.
Hi, I’m Caitlyn! During the day I’m a graduate student, so you can usually find me hiding in the corner of a coffee shop (iced coffee always in hand) reading, writing, or lesson planning. But, come nighttime, I’m always trying to squeeze in a few extra pages of whatever I’m reading for fun. I love to decorate with books and antique trinkets, light a musky woodsy candle, and curl up with my cat, Mercutio, to devour fantasy, historical fiction, literary fiction, or, really, whatever I’m feeling in the moment!