The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great (Thorndike Press Large Print Historical Fiction) Hardcover – Large Print, 20 Apr 2012
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Advance praise for "The Winter Palace"
"Stachniak's brilliant, bold historical novel of eighteenth-century Russia is a masterful account of one woman's progress toward absolute monarchical rule. . . . This superb biographical epic proves the Tudors don't have a monopoly on marital scandal, royal intrigue, or feminine triumph."--"Booklist" (starred review)
"Awash in period details and as gripping and suspenseful as any thriller, "The Winter Palace" gives us a unique look at the making of a queen. Eva Stachniak allows us to peep through keyholes and overhear whispers as we navigate the intrigues of Imperialist Russia along with Sophie, the princess who became Catherine the Great. I loved this book, and this glimpse into a world of silk and shadows, grandeur and gossip."--Melanie Benjamin, author of "The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb"
""The Winter Palace" is an intensely written, intensely felt saga of the early years that shaped the eighteenth century's famous czarina, Catherine the Great. Her survival in the treachery of the Russian court was an amazing feat, and Eva Stachniak captures the fluidity and steeliness that propelled Catherine from a lowly German duchess to one of the towering figures of the century."--Karleen Koen, "New York Times" bestselling author of "Through a Glass Darkly"
"Eva Stachniak has given readers a thrilling glimpse into the scandals and secrets at the heart of the Russian Imperial court. With deft prose and exquisite detail, Stachniak has resurrected one of the most compelling ages in history. Turn off the phones and lock the doors--you will not put it down."--Deanna Raybourn, "New York Times" bestselling author of "Silent in the Grave"
"This novel is literary sable to sink into on a cold winter's night: luxurious and elegant, gilded with details, yet piercing in its depiction of the flamboyant decadence of the Russian court, and the tumultuous rise to power of Catherine the Great, as seen through the eyes of a scheming lady in waiting and spy. Once you enter the glorious, dangerous world of "The Winter Palace, " you will never want to leave."--C.W. Gortner, author of "The Confessions of Catherine de Medici"
"Utterly enchanting from the first page . . . Eva Stachniak brings to life the sensual feast that was Catherine the Great's Russia in this beautifully written, tightly plotted novel."--Tasha Alexander, author of "And Only to Deceive" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The epic, sensuous story of Catherine the Great's ruthless rise to power, through the eyes of a young girl groomed as the Empress's spy in 18th Century Russia. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Varvara becomes very involved in Palace and Court life - she meets the Empress Elizabeth and reports to both her and the Chancellor. Elizabeth has vowed to rule alone, planning to make her sister's orphaned son the Crown Prince. She arranges his marriage with Princess Sophie, who becomes Catherine. We follow Catherine's arrival at Court at the tender age of fourteen, a German Princess who becomes the Grand Duchess Catherine Alexeyevna. There are many plots, affairs, marriages, sadness and problems ahead for both Catherine and Varvara. All the way through the novel, Varvara is the eyes and ears that inform on the 'game'; plotting and planning amongst the court factions as Catherine struggles to find a place in the shifting loyalties of the Palace. Meanwhile, there is the dominating figure of the Empress Elizabeth, ruling all their lives as Varvara has to decide where her loyalties lie as the game turns dangerous.
This is a wonderful read - Varvara is a very sympathetic character and you cannot wait to find what will happen next. The author is currently working on a second novel about Catherine the Great and I will certainly be keen to read that. Excellent and highly recommended.
The Winter Palace is described as 'a novel of Catherine the Great', which is slightly misleading as Catherine is not the main character and the book only covers her early years. Beginning with her arrival at court as the Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst, a prospective bride for the Empress Elizabeth's heir, Grand Duke Peter, Catherine's rise to power is described by her friend, Varvara Nikolayevna. Varvara is a young Polish girl, the daughter of a bookbinder, who is employed as a spy, or 'tongue', at the court of Empress Elizabeth. The Winter Palace is really Varvara's story rather than Catherine's.
This is a period of Russian history I knew almost nothing about, so I can't comment on how accurate any of the novel is. I found some of it confusing at first, due to my unfamiliarity with the people and events of the era, though there is a useful character list at the back of the book to help with this. It's always good to finish a historical fiction novel feeling that you were at least able to learn something about the period and by the time I reached the end of this book I did feel that I had a better knowledge of the subject.
The setting of the book - the Russian Imperial court - was as fascinating as I'd expected it to be.Read more ›
I am being generous in giving it 4 stars. I visited an exhibition of Catherine's life several years ago and it was much more informative and made a deeper impression on me. She was a fascinating person - not called "the great" for nothing - and many people will find it worth reading a more serious book about her. However, if you are new to the subject or just want a light read about the Russian history and politics of that period, it is entertaining enough.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Closing my borrowed copy of The Winter Palace early this morning, I could not help but feel I was holding a prettily painted glass bead marketed and hyped as a genuine gem of a... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Elspeth G. Perkin
I love historical novels but find the market flooded with the Tudors! This was a new period and dynasty for me to explore and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by C. Proctor
I love books where history, life and intrigue are mixed so well.
I don’t want to reveal to much of the plot, but I like that the story was told by someone else, someone who... Read more
really great book. enjoyed it very much and actually based on true facts! a real page turner for me.Published 5 months ago by Olya
Well it's a long one this! But I'm loving it and glad it's not ending any time soon because I'll be back at a loss of what to read..Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book was sympathetically written and gave another view of Catherine's younger life. At times I was reading it with one hand on an encyclopaedia to see who was factual and who... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Alice
book as arrived not got round to reading it yet but i no i will love itPublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer