Have read a few of the great Russian novels, like Dostoyevsky, and really enjoyed them, so I thought this sounded like a good story. For me the voices and the sound of the language transport me right there. Through the narrator I feel that I am really hearing the many different voices of this story, the Polish voice of Barbara, describing the naivete of Catherine when she first arrives, or the weakened voice of her mother as she nears death, or the imperial Russian voice of the czar, or a German-accented professor. What an amazing skill to deliver all these voices / personalities in such a credible way, and to render them through Barbara. To me that is really great storytelling. If you like stories of intrigue, romance, politics, insecurity, and deception among the aristocrats at court (think Dangerous Liaisons, but in Russia instead of France), mixed as a historical fiction, you'd probably enjoy this.
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