The Winter Palace tells the story of Barbara, a Polish girl entering the Imperial Russian court under the reign of Elisabeth I at the same time as Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst, the future Tsarina Catherine. The novel gives a heartbreaking, bystander’s perspective of Catherine’s rise in the court.
Empress of the Night takes everything you read in The Winter Palace and turns it on its head. The gripping saga of Catherine’s last year is all the more compelling because you know how it ends. It’s a like watching the Titanic and silently wishing the characters would make different choices.
Everything about the novels loured me in and I definitely include them on my list of all-time favorite books. As an Imperial Rusaphile it’s impossible for me to feel anything but heartbreak for this tragic dynasty. Eva Stachniak does a brilliant job bringing Romanov history to life and considering the limited options for non-fiction reading, I am even more appreciative of this history inspired novel.
I discovered these novels through Julie, she blogs about books and I’ll definitely be checking out other recommendations from her site.