Series: The Royals #2
Published by Pocket Star on July 17th 2017
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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 Fabergé 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.
Romances involving royalty have always been iffy-choices for me and that has more to do with their believability than anything else.
With an injured man suffering from amnesia trying to piece together his life, ‘Royally Romanov’ sucked me in immediately when it turned the table on the usual speculation surrounding Anastasia and chose to throw the spotlight on a possible grandson instead. Along with a curator who specialises in all things Romanov, Maxim Laurent’s sudden presence in her life has the power to make or break it.
I loved the mystery that surrounded Maxim and the developing case that at times felt more like a thriller than a romance—it was both troubling and seductive in that disconcerting way when it was obvious nothing is all it seemed.
I really anticipated the part where all the secrets were cracked open, except that didn’t quite happen that way at the end, which I thought was disappointingly rushed and abrupt. There is as always, a con job associated with Anastasia’s identity and that goes similarly in Maxim’s case. I felt as though Max’s past hadn’t been sufficiently unravelled to make it a persuasive one. Was he really an investment banker, for starters? Or was he something else entirely? How then, had he gotten to this point in his life? In fact, it was harder even to believe, that his boss—a wealthy manager of a reputable bank—had been the one pushing the con job all along and was responsible for all the thuggish behaviours that had Maxim injured in the first place.
I wished all of those questions were fully addressed, but Teri Wilson pushes those aside in favour of securing the romance with Maxim and Finley when both of them eschew what they have in life to start anew someplace else. The connection between Finley and Maxim happened so quickly that it felt like instant love, and while their HEA—as the movie credits rolled on—had the hallmarks of a Disney ending, I think I still needed something more concrete to tie them together than just the dreamy (or dangerous) streets of Paris and the romanticised ideal of royalty living amongst us.