Thursday, November 3, 2011

Blog Tour: Catherinne by Sigrid Weidenweber

"You look astonishingly pretty," admits Johanna when Sophia steps out of her bedroom dressed in Ulrika's magnificent gown. Sophia is stunned, halting in mid-step. This is rare praise from her cold mother, so she must, indeed, look very good. At Frederick's side during the elaborate court dinner, Sophia shines and sparkles with youth and wit. The monarch is very pleased with his choice. Indeed, he is so enamored with the girl that he opens his purse to outfit mother and daughter, both woefully deficient in material matters appropriate for court life. So begins the transformation of Princess Sophia of Anhalt-Zerbst into Catherine the Great of Russia. The personal and professional triumphs and tribulations of this remarkable worman are retold by Sigrid Weidenweber, whose research into the life of Catherine reveals a new perspective on Catherine, from the inside out. Sigrid portrays with heartfeld understanding what it was like to have been such a major European political and military, social and cultural figure during the eighteenth century.

This book is a work of detail and research. Beautifully handled, it is a story that will sweep you back in time to a Russia where Catherine ruled.

What I enjoyed most about it was the atmosphere. There was a lushness to the story that drew me in immediately. Not only with descriptions, but also with plot elements, layers upon layers of storylines that mold together to form a larger image of the times. It is incredible to see Catherine, a German-born young woman evolve to become one of the most powerful women who’ve ever lived. There are many characters that are well done in these pages, but it is still Catherine who comes out fully developed, completely three-dimensional. She becomes someone we truly begin to know.

This book manages to gather and build an entire life on little information, and while some moments do feel a bit forced, there are so many wonderful scenes that it’s hard to put down. There is a lot of political, and obviously, historical information, so it might not appeal to everyone, but if you’d like to be a fly on the wall during Catherine’s reign, then you’ll find this book, this series really, a delight.

For the rest of the tour, you can go here.

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