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review 2015-03-21 21:09
Empress of the Night - Eva Stachniak
Empress of the Night: A Novel of Catherine the Great - Eva Stachniak
Solid reading!
Having read this as a stand alone, I did not feel like I missed anything by not reading The Winter Palace, though I will be reading it at some point.
I do feel  like I learned a great deal about Catherine the Great. I knew that she could be shrewd, but I can understand why for the most part. She really did what she had to, to benefit Russia. She was hard and stubborn but she did some great things. Now the debauchery, I know it was big at that time, but she really enjoyed herself. Even in her old age she was enamored with young men. You could say she got around more than enough corners in her life, considering most of her children were not her husbands', and they all had different fathers, still it was not her and her husbands' child to come next in line. Even with that, she did not let her infidelities interfere with her running Russia.
A great deal of thought went into this book, you can tell, and I know a lot of you will enjoy the way it is laid out and written.
 
Source: www.fredasvoice.com/2015/03/21-empress-of-night-by-eva-stachniak.html
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text 2015-02-01 18:46
A Month in Books: January 2015
Queen's Gambit: A Novel - Elizabeth Fremantle
The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England - Marc Morris
Edge of Eternity - Ken Follett
Christmas Eve, 1914 - Charles Olivier,Cameron Daddo,Xander Berkeley,Cody Fern,Damon Herriman,James Scott,John Beck,Lance Guest,Gabe Greenspan,Nate Jones
The Paris Wife - Paula McLain
Empress of the Night: A Novel of Catherine the Great - Eva Stachniak
God Is in the Laundry Room (Small-Group Bible Study) - Susan Senechal
Tail Talk: Understanding the Secret Language of Dogs - Sophie Collins,Karen Overall
Puppy Training - Dog Fancy Magazine
The Snow Queen - Julia Whelan,Hans Christian Andersen

Here is my roundup of what I read in January, in approximately the order I would rank them in.

 

Though what I read doesn't line up exactly with my monthly TBR, I am loving having a reading plan. I did discover that I need to anticipate more audiobooks in my plan, and two of these selections give you a hint about something I got talked into over Christmas break! On to February's selections!

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review 2015-01-28 02:04
The Winter Palace
The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great - Eva Stachniak

I was going to give this book three stars 2/3 of the way through.  But the ending,  for me,  was different and I just had to give it another star.  This story of Catherine the Great's rise to power is told through the eyes of Varenka, a friend and spy for Catherine.  This is a story of their friendship, of loyalty, and sadly a story of how completely power corrupts.  The ending surprised me and I don't know  why,  in hindsight the author practically gave it away half way through the book with a comment that immediately came to mind when I realized what had happened.  To say more would spoil it.  But what a well done,  human story about these two women.  I enjoyed it.  Definitely recommend.  

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text 2015-01-22 12:49
Reading progress update: I've read 270 out of 444 pages.
The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great - Eva Stachniak

Enjoying this one.  Maybe it's my lack of familiarity  with Catherine the Great, all the twists are a surprise to me.  

 

Also,  the undercurrent of this book reads like your classic underdog story. Refreshing take on, not sure what to call it - "regal" historical fiction. Catherine, though married to the heir to the throne, is portrayed as defenseless,  a pawn who's been taken advantage of,  and she's slowly learning how to gain and cultivate power with the help of a loyal friend.  

 

I also like the loyalty in the friendship between the two women. 

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review 2015-01-22 01:12
Empress of the Night by Eva Stachniak
Empress of the Night - Eva Stachniak

From the moment I started listening to this book, I could tell that it was something unique. It was probably a novel that I would have enjoyed more in print than as an audiobook. Listening too it, I found my mind wandering and got lost in the disjointed storytelling.

 

Beginning with the scene of Catherine's dying moments, Empress of the Night has a dreamlike quality of the empress' life flashing before her eyes. Instead of a comprehensive biography, the reader is given random snippets that stand out to Catherine as her last breaths slip away. Some scenes are told in exquisite detail, while others are never mentioned. Most of the focus is on Catherine's legendary love-life.

 

There is some beautiful prose in this novel, but not enough of a distinct plot to keep my interest in this format.

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