The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure young German princess who traveled to Russia at fourteen and rose to become one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in history.
"Loved everyone minute!"
Her name is Barbara - in Russian, Varvara. Nimble-witted and attentive, she’s allowed into the employ of the Empress Elizabeth, amid the glitter and cruelty of the world’s most eminent court. Under the tutelage of Count Bestuzhev, Chancellor and spymaster, Varvara will be educated in skills from lock picking to lovemaking, learning above all else to listen, and wait for opportunity. That opportunity arrives in a slender young princess from Zerbst named Sophie, a playful teenager destined to become the indomitable Catherine the Great.
"Not a bodice ripper!"
Prize-winning historian and biographer, Carolly Erickson has created an eminently readable biography that recognizes the humanity of Great Catherine—Empress of Russia—with her majesty and immense capability. Dispelling some of the myths surrounding her voracious sexual appetite, the biographer portrays Catherine as a lonely woman far ahead of her time—achieving greatness in an era when women were executed on a husband’s whim.
Perfect for fans of Hilary Mantel, Alison Weir, and Philippa Gregory, Empress of the Night is Eva Stachniak’s engrossing new novel, told in the voice of Catherine the Great as the Romanov monarch reflects on her ascension to the throne, her rule over the world’s greatest power, and the sacrifices that made her the most feared and commanding woman of her time.
"Good but not as "Great" as the first book"
For anyone trying to understand the origins of modern Russia, the search should begin with Tsar Peter I (1672-1725), who titled himself Peter the Great during his lifetime. The moniker is fitting, considering the manner in which Peter brought Russia out of the Middle Ages and into the 18th century.
As one of the most famous women rulers in history, Russian Empress Catherine the Great has long been remembered not only as one of the most powerful women of her time, but she was also one of the most powerful and capable rulers in all of Europe. And her path to the throne was just as remarkable as her reign.
When Vavara, a young orphaned Polish girl, is brought to serve at Empress Elizabeth's glittering, dangerous court in St Petersburg, she is schooled by the Chancellor himself in skills from lock-picking to love-making, learning above all else to stay silent - and listen. Soon, she is Elizabeth's 'tongue' - her secret eyes and ears. Then Sophie, a vulnerable young princess, arrives from Prussia as a prospective bride for Elizabeth's heir.
A little English, a little Russian, and a lot of heart make a birthday celebration you won't want to miss! When Sara's grandma, Catherine the Great, suddenly announces, "This year for my birthday, I want no presents! I have music in my Russian bones, and laughing in my heart. I have the day and the night, and I have all of you," Sara is surprised. How can Grandma have a birthday party with no presents?" Her mama explains that a no present can be anything from a kiss or a hug to a game of gin rummy - as long as it comes from deep inside you.
"So what's he like?" hissed Battista. "Like a pile of pig's guts," Camilla moaned. "He's about a hundred years old, and he stinks, and I'll just DIE if I have to marry him!" Find out how a girl with attitude takes on a whole town when she decides she's as good as anybody - even though her dad IS a sewage collector.
Today we’ll meet one of the most interesting, powerful, maligned women in history, Catherine the Great, with introductions made by her latest biographer, Robert K. Massie. Next, Maggie Linton looks back at a gilded age with author Amor Towles and his book Rules of Civility. And finally, a story about another girl with a dream – this one starts in Illinois and ends up on the TV show Glee. Jane Lynch tells her own story in her memoir, Happy Accidents.
Actress Angelina Jolie is now something she swore she would never be: a director. Bob talks to Jolie about the making of her directorial debut, In the Land of Blood and Honey.