I was first introduced to Franklin (aka Diana Norman) by way of her release City of Shadows, which hit shelves back in '06. And as I mentioned in my Mistress post last year, I was lucky enough to read Shadows much earlier thanks to one of the wonderful marketing folks at Harper Collins at the time (I was still Fiction Lead at the bookstore at this time).
Like her series, Franklin incorporated actual historical events into City of Shadows. One of histories most famous missing persons legends (akin to Elvis!) is that of Duchess Anastasia. It's a story that's fascinated me since I was kid and it's been the subject of many movies and books throughout the years. The idea that the little princess was spirited away and saved from execution, hiding out -- possibly with amnesia -- is a romantic one indeed.
Interestingly, in the 1920s, a woman called Anna Anderson was believed, at least by some, to be the lost duchess. She was one of many who made that claim, and her story was ultimately proved to be false (here's the link to her Wikipedia page). But that doesn't change the fact that her story and that of Anastasia is still a fascinating one.
And it is Anna who is the basis of Franklin's City of Shadows. It's been a while for me, so here's the review from PW:
British author Franklin (the pseudonym of a veteran historical fiction writer) makes the most of an original premise in this engrossing thriller that opens in 1922 Berlin. The German government is in crisis, inflation is staggering, anti-Semitism is rife, citizens are starving and Hitler has begun his rise to power. Horribly scarred Esther Solonomova works as a secretary for fake Russian nobleman Prince Nick, the owner of several Berlin nightclubs (think Cabaret) catering to the rich, the foreign and the deviant. Nick finds an inmate in a local asylum who claims to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, sole survivor of the slaughter of Russia's royal family. Prince Nick renames the inmate Anna Anderson, installs her in an apartment with Esther and sets in motion plans to get his hands on the money and jewels that Anna will claim as the heir to the Russian throne. But a mysterious Nazi is trying to murder Anna, and those near her begin to die. Franklin deftly orchestrates her characters on and off the world's stage, building suspense to a dramatic, surprising finish.
I'd recommend all of Franklin's work, but this is undeniably my favorite!