I love fiction that takes you into the past, into another place and time, and this did just that. I love that it was not about Catherine the Great herself but someone who was a part of the history. Very interesting.
The performance was so poor that, despite several tries, I was not able to get past the first section.
The story slowed in the middle. I had to talk myself into finishing it when I had 6 hours left.
Maybe a TV series.
I liked the story, but thought it might be better to write as a series, with 3 parts rather than 1 long book.
I decided to listen to this book for a couple of hours and found myself fighting sleep to continue listening. This novel is very well written and holds your attention throughout..
All of the characters are well developed, making it difficult to have a favorite
This book made me curious to find out what would happen next.
I am enjoying this book immensely.
Years ago I listened to a book about the life and work of Vincent VanGogh, the narriator was difficult, this is the only book I have listened to where the narriator is almost as draining. But it seems correct - it is the story of Russia - that the narrator sounds Russian. The story explains Catherine's difficult and focused rise to power. Additional checking on Catherine supports the underlieing threads, she really was not a nice person. There is much myth surrounding Catherine, she did not like Voltaire, paintings or cultural adventure those things just fit into the personna she created. Catherine is not the main person in the novel, it is the story of the books narrator. Life in Russia is/was difficult and Catherine the Great underscores just how difficult. The books narrator becomes totally caught up in the power struggle and this is the story of how she got herself out. Interesting, sad and not a book I would recommend.
A Polish narrator telling the story of a Polish character, what could be more appropriate? I enjoyed the story; lots of atmosphere, sympathetic character, intriguing situation. It wasn't just a listing of events but instead of personal retelling that made me feel like I was sitting listening to the woman telling her own story along with the small details (smells, textures, sounds). As far as the narrator, I thought she was perfect. Yes hearing a polish narrator try to imitate an English accent was interesting, but I found it perfect because that's how the real woman would likely have done it. The occasional odd pronunciations were in character. Overall I was pleasantly surprised. I will listen to this one again and recommend it to others.
I've listened for 10 minutes and can not go on. The narrator has a horrible diction and has no idea how to deliver the sentence. I have no idea if the story is any good, since I can't even endure listening to this person ruining what I assume is at least an ok novel. Someone should really be responsible for such an awful product. How is this ok for them to take our money and not be responsible for delivering a quality product?
Anyone but her. I would have been better than her. A first grader who would have an inkling on how to deliver a sentence would have been better.
I thoroughly enjoy history...even in the novel form, but was unable to finish the book due to the poor performance by the narrator.
I don't know who I'd cast as narrator. I understand the reasoning behind having a person whose native tongue is Russian to do the narration...especially due to the tongue-tying language, but this narrator spoke in such a halting manner as to be distracting.
I found it fascinating. A plausible autobiography of a Russian girl from a meager background who becomes a maid and confident to both Empress Elizabeth and Empress Catherine.
Varvara's growth and maturation through stages of survival, hero worship, fascination with political intrigue, friendship in all its various hues through loyalty, betrayal and eventual independence accurately portrayed the arc of a woman's life.
Empress Catherine was an amazing larger-than-life political figure who dominated an era, foreshadowed by the examples that life presented her, her mother and Empress Elizabeth, both of whom embodied the very best and worst in human traits.
As one reviewer already noted, the narration is monotone at best, and with incorrect or downright odd inflection much of the time. She seems so selfconcious of her accent that it actually becomes intrusive and painful to listen. I just can't follow through on this purchase and listen to the end.