Queen of Always by Sherry D. Ficklin
(Stolen Empire #3)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: September 15th 2015
Genres: Historical, Young Adult
Synopsis: If her time at court has taught Catherine anything, it’s that there is no room for weakness in Imperial Russia. With the Empress’ health failing and rumors of a change in the line of succession, her place in the royal line is once more in jeopardy. Tormented by her sadistic husband and his venomous mistress, Catherine must once more walk the fine line between pleasure and politics—between scandal and survival.
When her young son becomes the target of those rebelling against Peter’s reign, Catherine will have to rise up to protect herself, her child, and her nation from his unstable and potentially catastrophic rule. This means putting herself at odds with the most dangerous man she’s ever known, trusting those who once proved to be her enemies, and turning a nation against its sovereign. In the ultimate battle for the crown, new alliances will be forged, loyalties will be tested, and blood will be shed.
Don’t miss this breathtaking conclusion to the Stolen Empire series! Queen of Always is a YA historical fiction based on the life of young Catherine the Great. Fans of the hit TV show REIGN will devour this scandalous glimpse into the life of one of the most dynamic women in history.
Excerpt: “I have done dreadful things, Dash. I have made mistakes that I will never be able to atone for, and I have allowed myself to be selfish in ways you might never understand.” The bitter memory of sprinkling the poison in the Empress’ tea floats into my mind. I think of every lie I’ve told, of every misstep I’ve made. “I’m not proud of my choices, but neither would I retract a single one,” I say finally.
“Sometimes, the only choices you have are horrible choices,” she says. “But you must still choose.” I glance at her, admiring her quiet fortitude. She is, in so many ways, like Rina. So wise for her years. Wise and kind and good.
“You are a good soul, Dashka. I wish I were as good.”
She shakes her head, “Don’t say that, Your Grace. You are a good soul as well. Not innocent as or naive as I, but nevertheless good. You will be a good queen.”
“I hope so,” I mutter around another bite. There’s a cup of what looks like pitch black tea. I pick it up, examining the contents. It smells burnt somehow. “What on earth is this?”
She nods to it, “That’s a new drink the cook thought you might enjoy. It’s called coffee. It can be bitter so there is cream you can add to it. She says it’s all the rage at French Court.”
“Coffee? Odd.” I take a sip and nearly gag. It’s strong, so much more bitter and heavy than tea, but, still… I take another sip. “It’s quite good, I think.” I say, admiring the warmth of the cup in my hand. Dashka beams.
“I thought you’d enjoy it.” As we begin the tedious process of dressing and grooming, I sip on the beverage, asking for a second cup soon after the first. Soon I feel my heart speed up, my face flushes, and I feel more awake and alive than I’ve felt in weeks. I let my mind drift. Someday, sooner than later, I will be queen. What sort of queen do I want to be? I know I will have to decide. Will I be loyal? Faithful? Will I be kind or courageous? Will I be content sitting quietly, or will I stand boldly against those who oppose me? Suddenly, things seem very clear.
“It’s the coffee,” Dashka smirks.
Somehow, I think it’s more than just that.
Sherry D. Ficklin is a full time writer from Colorado. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she's on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.
She is the author of over a dozen novels ranging from contemporary romance to science fiction. In her spare time she co-hosts the Pop Lit Divas radio show and is a contributor for Fangirlish.com.