The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great Read ´ 104

Summary É PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ☆ Eva Stachniak

The Winter Palace A Novel of Catherine the GreatSoon she is Elizabeth's 'tongue' her secret eyes and earsThen Sophie a vulnerable young princess arrives from Prussia as a prospective bride for Elizabeth's heir Set to spy on her by the Empress Vavara soon becomes her friend and confidante and helps her naviga. I'm giving this novel 37 starsThis was an entertaining novel that read like a melodrama The plot is believable and fastidiously executed The writing is melodious and sentimental The novel is immensely rich in descriptive details especially about court etiuette palatial decor clothes and jewelry Having recently read Robert Massie’s factual non fiction title Catherine the Great Portrait of a Woman I can avow that this novel is based on meticulous researchThe novel is written from the perspective of Varvara a bookbinder’s daughter turned spy in the Russian court during Empress Elizabeth’s reign The first two thirds of the novel dwell on Elizabeth’s vagaries her extravagance and her suspicious and jealous nature all seen through Varvara’s critical eyes By comparison the character of Catherine the Great is given a much less detailed treatment although it can be said that Catherine is shown in a much less flattering light here compared to Massie’s biography Often the narrative is bogged down with Varvara’s personal maturing pains and many unnecessary details about places and things that are unrelated to the royalties As much as Varvara functions as an effective narrator it seems that she occupies the center stage for too much of the novel to leave enough room for the leading character – who should be Catherine as the novel subtitle suggestsOn balance it is a remarkable historical novel about 18th century Russian court life I’m giving it 37 stars

Read The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great

The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great Read ´ 104 ↠ When Vavara a young orphaned Polish girl is brought to serve at Empress Elizabeth's glittering dangerous court in St Petersburg she is schooled by the Chancellor himself in skills from lock picking to love making learning above all else to stay silent and liTe the illicit seductions and the treacherous shifting allegiances of the courtBut Sophie's destiny is to become the notorious Catherine the Great Are her ambitions lofty and far reaching than anyone suspected and will she stop at nothing to achieve absolute pow. I was so looking forward to this book only to be disappointed AGAIN The unfortunate part is that the premise of the book including the time period and all of the characters could have had such an interesting story to tell but Stachniak falls short To start off with I believe the choice of a first person narrator told from the point of a view of a spy or tongue under the guise as a chamber maid ruined the writer's ability to truly potray Catherine the Great I mean who is she really This daunting figure in history yet Stachniak leaves me wonderingIs Catherine heartless or is she full of love Is she clever and full of guile or being manipulated by others or was it just good timing Is she loyal or not Honestly 34 of the book felt like it was about Empress Elizabeth's temper tantrums We don't see the characters true motivations fears or inner wantsdesiresnot counting the supremely obvious favourites MONEY SEX AND POWER Though Stachniak's writing style was decent I felt like all she was doing was the proverbial info dumping to show how much supposed research she did Aside from descriptions of gowns fabrics and plantsflowers I don't see much detail at all In 1746 this happened and then in the fallautumn that happened YAWN If you want a good historical fiction with good characterizeration and dialogue try WOLF HALL by Hilary Mantel instead At least I felt I knew WHO Thomas Cromwell really was or at least who Mantel wanted to portray him to beinstead this book where I really didn't care about Catherine at all which is kind'of a problem when the book is about her Disappointed

Eva Stachniak ☆ 4 Read

When Vavara a young orphaned Polish girl is brought to serve at Empress Elizabeth's glittering dangerous court in St Petersburg she is schooled by the Chancellor himself in skills from lock picking to love making learning above all else to stay silent and listen. Find the enhanced version of this and other reviews at out of the gate I have to give Stachniak a lot of points In a market flooded with Tudor lit The Winter Palace stands apart A lover of history and historic fiction I was overjoyed to see an author branching out Of course I wont be happy until someone writes a solid fiction on Crown Prince Rudolf and Baroness Marie Vetsera but Catherine the Great is definitely a step in the right direction Overall I enjoyed the book There were times I was frustrated with the narrator Varvara's long absence from court especially but in general I liked the female spy Her ability to adapt to survive was intriguing but the nature of her work was down right fun to read To Stachniak's credit Varvara provides tidbits on several members of the court in addition to the young princess I can't speak to the validity of these accounts but they were entertaining nonetheless For all that I appreciated Varvara I can't say I enjoyed Catherine She just didn't jump off the page for me Catherine was a remarkable woman who would redefine her empire over the course of her thirty four year reign Stachniak's characterization was too delicate to read as strong or astute as her historic counterpart Likewise Peter came off as childish and mildly unstable Classically Peter was a neurotic mean and loathsome individual who was consumed by his obsession with the military and a steadfast hatred of his people In comparison Stachniak's interpretation was almost boring My commentary doesn't end with the issues of characterization Lets examine the cover art There is no shortage of artwork of Catherine the Great so I have to ask why the publisher chose to feature a partial portrait of one of her contemporaries for the cover image While you can't see the head the slim white hand caressing the golden robe actually belongs to the Empress Maria Theresa mother of Marie AntoinetteMy second uestion regards the tagline 'A novel of Catherine the Great' The book is not about the Empress so much as it is Varvara and her observations of life at court during the reigns of Elizabeth Peter and Catherine I feel something like 'A novel of Romanov Russia' or 'A novel of the Romanov Court' would have been appropriate when the content is considered Additionally I think the family name would generate eual if not interest I understand the concept of a head liner but thanks to the conspiracy theories surrounding the of death of Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanov the surname is far recognizable than Catherine's name alone On the subject of content I have to concede a certain resemblance to Philippa Gregory's The ueen's Fool Hannah spies for Lord Robert and ueen Mary Varvara for Chancellor Bestuzhuv and Empress Elizabeth Both befriend the individual they are meant to be spying on Elizabeth and Catherine respectively Varvara is Roman Catholic in an Eastern Orthodox court and Hannah is Jewish in a well it depends on the year but you see what I am getting at Don't misunderstand I appreciated both novels I am just commenting that there are than a few similarities between the two titles Consider yourself warned My personal concerns aside The Winter Palace is a clever introduction to the Romanov Court Recommended to fans of Phillip Gregory and Juliet Grey