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The Winter Palace

A Novel of Catherine the Great
Stachniak, Eva, 1952- (Book - 2012 )
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Winter Palace


Item Details

Random House, Inc.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The Wall Street Journal • The Washington Post

From award-winning author Eva Stachniak comes this passionate novel that illuminates, as only fiction can, the early life of one of history’s boldest women. The Winter Palace tells the epic story of Catherine the Great’s improbable rise to power—as seen through the ever-watchful eyes of an all-but-invisible servant close to the throne.

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 to 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. Sophie’s destiny at court is to marry the Empress’s nephew, but she has other, loftier, more dangerous ambitions, and she proves to be more guileful than she first appears.

What Sophie needs is an insider at court, a loyal pair of eyes and ears who knows the traps, the conspiracies, and the treacheries that surround her. Varvara will become Sophie’s confidante—and together the two young women will rise to the pinnacle of absolute power.

With dazzling details and intense drama, Eva Stachniak depicts Varvara’s secret alliance with Catherine as the princess grows into a legend—through an enforced marriage, illicit seductions, and, at last, the shocking coup to assume the throne of all of Russia.

Impeccably researched and magnificently written, The Winter Palace is an irresistible peek through the keyhole of one of history’s grandest tales.

Praise for The Winter Palace

“A majestic and splendidly written tale of pride, passion, intrigue, and deceit that is brought alive from the first page to the last.”—Rosalind Laker

“At the same time baroque and intimate, worldly and domestic, wildly strange and soulfully familiar, The Winter Palace offers a flickering glimpse of history through the gauze of deft entertainment.”—The Washington Post

“A thrilling point of view . . . Readers are treated to a firsthand account of the young princess’s slow ascent to the throne, a path deliciously strewn with discarded lovers and sanguine court intrigues.”—Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“[A] brilliant, bold historical novel . . . This superb biographical epic proves the Tudors don’t have a monopoly on marital scandal, royal intrigue, or feminine triumph.”—Booklist (starred review)

Baker & Taylor
A reimagining of the early years of Catherine the Great traces the story of a naive German duchess as observed by young Barbara, a servant who watches her mistress's elevation and rises to become one of Russia's most clever royal spies.

Baker
& Taylor

A reimagining of the early years of Catherine the Great traces the story of a naive German duchess as observed by young Barbara, a servant who watches her mistress's elevation and rises to one of Russia's most clever royal spies. By the author of Necessary Lies.

Authors: Stachniak, Eva, 1952-
Statement of Responsibility: Eva Stachniak
Title: The Winter Palace
a novel of Catherine the Great
Publisher: New York :, Bantam Books,, c2012
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: 444 p. ;,25 cm.
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Report This Feb 28, 2014
  • BTVS rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Great novel, well researched. I have read other Russian Hostory so I felt the story was true to court life and historical times and I loved the perspective from an educated orphan who becomes a palace spy for the young Catherine before she assumes power. I will certainly look for more from this author

Report This Oct 04, 2013
  • Booker70 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

This was a good book but a bit long winded.

This is a tale of great suspense that sweeps us through the ages to peek at the young princess Sophie, later Catherine the Great, as she transforms into Russias's most famous Queen. Barbara, our eyes and ears throughout the story is a wonderfully complex character and helps us navigate through the corridors of the imposing Winter Palace.

Report This Jun 09, 2013
  • WVMLBookClubTitles rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Stachniak reveals Russia's greatest matriarch from her earliest days in court where secrets of the nobility were a valuable currency and ambition a dangerous weapon. Two young women, caught in the landscape of shifting allegiances, navigate the treacherous waters of palace intrigue. Barbara is a servant educated in skills from lock picking to lovemaking, learning above all else to listen—and to wait for opportunity. That opportunity arrives in a slender young princess from Zerbst named Sophie, a playful teenager who will become the indomitable Catherine the Great. An irresistible peek through the keyhole of one of history’s grandest tales.

Love the book, too bad we have to wait so long for the next one.

Report This Nov 19, 2012
  • librarylil rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Great read for fans of historical fiction the subject Catherine the Great.

Report This Nov 14, 2012
  • J_Test_4 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

An excellent book.

Report This Nov 06, 2012
  • SusanneLS rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

Could not get into the style of writing at all. By page 60 I gave up. If you like novels based on Russian history Robert Alexander's 3 books are awesome.

Report This Oct 15, 2012
  • haploU5 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

This is the story of Catherine the Great’s rise to power in 18th centure Russia. It ends with Catherine becoming Empress and her story continues in the sequel which is not yet published as of October 2012. This is my first novel on the subject of the renowned Empress and I am looking forward to learning more. I found the subject matter appealing; the story had enough history mixed with drama to keep my interest. I’m looking forward to Book II.

Report This Sep 19, 2012
  • Jamore rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

This was a good read. I really like stories of the English court, so this was a nice (if only slight) departure. The choice of servant as narrator was a nice way to pass information along about the historical setting & machinations of the time. I found the book a bit long winded & thought maybe the middle 100 pages could have been significantly edited down, but in general, it was a good book.

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Report This Nov 14, 2012
  • J_Test_4 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

J_Test_4 thinks this title is suitable for 20 years and over

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