The book itself excels in character development, rich descriptions, sweeping story arc. But the narration detracts from the overall experience. The narrator frequently comes to a full stop partway through a sentence and then picks up with the remainder of the sentence as if that fragment were a sentence unto itself. For example, A left the room and B followed. Him into the corridor. This happens hundreds of times, each instance acting as a speed bump in the unfolding of the story. Also the narrator consistently mispronounces many words. Court becomes cwourt. Mourn becomes mwourn. Recall becomes recwall. These are only a few examples. Nonenglish words are inconsistently mispronounced. Fräulein is sometimes froh-lein and sometimes frow-lein, neither correct. I will not purchase another audiobook read by this narrator.
The narrator had an odd accent and the story just lagged in places.
Went on too long.
Yes, great book and great performance by the reader
Eva Stachniak’s The Winter Palace movingly tells the story of how a shy German princess named Sophie becomes the powerful Catherine the Great. The story is intriguingly told from the point of view of Barbara, also known as Varvara, a Polish servant who becomes a spy, or “tongue,” in the court rife with secrets. This unique narrator provides a fascinating perspective on the historical events going on around her. Beata Pozniak’s authentic Polish accent gives real immediacy to Varvara’s words, so you almost come to believe the young spy is whispering her secrets directly to you. Stachniak’s prose is passionate and evocative, lovingly detailed, and Beata Pozniak’s voice is the perfect complement. Her expressive delivery heightens the drama and emotion in this exciting tale and greatly enriches the richly atmospheric milieu, until you’ll almost find yourself surprised not to be in imperial Russia when it comes time to change volumes. Can’t wait for the next book.
story line & characters effective in telling historical story. However, narrator sounded like an oriental accent. Not effective voice for character. Lacked insight into some of the events.
I read a lot of this genre and this book was just plain boring.
Entertaining, especially after you get past the reader's style/accent, which actually works for the Russian character, but takes a bit of letting go of expectations.
Ultimately, it worked for the story, but her accent took a bit of getting used to.
I bought this because my book club was reading it. We all agreed that we thought it was mediocre at best. The plot got lost and there were so many characters, whose names changed frequently because of the Russian culture's way of handling names, and the author's writing style wasn't strong enough to keep it interesting. The ending just ends, like the author just suddenly stopped writing.
The narrator has an awkward way of reading that makes it really, really boring to listen to. She places emphasis on odd places on the sentence, and her accent detracts from the story rather than enhances it. It feels like when I was in high school and we'd go around the room reading, and that one kid who couldn't read very well would have his turn. It was just painfully stilted.
I love historical fiction and the content of the story transported me. It doesn't warrant five stars in my mind but is worth a read.
The performance of this book nearly ruined it for me. I could hardly listen to it but I'm too cheap to buy the book after using a credit for the Audible version. The narrator has accented English - I have to believe That is purposeful -- but her pronunciation is frequently WRONG and her cadence stilted. At times I wondered if she was reading the sentences for the very first time.
I was pretty disappointed and did not finish the second volume. It was totally about the life of the lady in waiting as the main charater and made Catherine out to be frivolous and unintelligent. Also, the accent of the reader, while I finally got used to it, was not easy to listen to.
Yes and I may buy this one to read, but not the audible format.
Stilted, slow, pauses in wrong locations, just downright painful
The story line seemed interesting, but I just couldn't get past chapter 4