Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: THE WINTER PALACE by Eva Stachniak

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My pick for this week is . . .

Pub. Date: January 2012
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Format: Hardcover, 464pp
ISBN-13: 9780553808124
ISBN: 0553808125

Description (from the publisher):
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.

About the Author (from the publisher):
Eva Stachniak was born in Wroclaw, Poland. She moved to Canada in 1981 and has worked for Radio Canada International and Sheridan College, where she taught English and humanities. Her first short story, “Marble Heroes,” was published by The Antigonish Review in 1994, and her debut novel, Necessary Lies, won the in Canada First Novel Award in 2000. She is also the author of Garden of Venus, which has been translated into seven languages. She lives in Toronto.


Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader said...

I can't wait for this one, too!

bermudaonion said...

Ooh, that should be good!

Cecelia said...

It's been a while since I read a good historical. I'll be looking out for this one. Nice WoW pick!

If you'd like, you can check out mine here.

LindsayWrites said...

i haven't read any historicals! maybe i will check this one out! here's my WOW post w/2012 books! hope you'll stop by and let me know what you are looking forward to reading from my list!

Zibilee said...

Oh, this one sounds like exactly my type of book, and since I know little about Catherine the Great, I am sure I will also learn a lot from it. Thanks for sharing this one!

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

This sounds like a wonderful winter read. The cover is so rich and warm!

librarypat said...

This is the first I have heard of this book. Sounds most interesting. Nice to see the focus shift to some different rulers.

Brenda G. Spalding said...

I love historical novels. This is definitely one that I will look forward to reading. I agree with librarypat. I'm glad that something different beside Henry VIII family!