Quote of the Week

Quote of the Week - "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind" Dr Seuss

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Review of Catherine by Sigrid Weidenweber

Inside the Heart & Mind of a Great Monarch
By Sigrid Weidenweber

“You look astonishingly pretty,” admits Johanna when Sophia steps out of her bedroom dressed in Ulrika’s magnificent gown. Sophia is stunned, halting in mid-step. This is rare praise from her cold mother, so she must, indeed, look very good. At Frederick’s side during the elaborate court dinner, Sophia shines and sparkles with youth and wit. The monarch is very pleased with his choice. Indeed, he is so enamored with the girl that he opens his purse to outfit mother and daughter, both woefully deficient in material matters appropriate for court life. So begins the transformation of Princess Sophia of Anhalt-Zerbst into Catherine the Great of Russia. The personal and professional triumphs and tribulations of this remarkable woman are retold by Sigrid Weidenweber, whose research into the life of Catherine reveals a new perspective on Catherine, from the inside out. Sigrid portrays with heartfelt understanding what it was like to have been such a major European political and military, social and cultural figure during the eighteenth century.

I believe I have mentioned before how much I love history. But I LOVE HISTORY!! So whenever someone writes a historical fiction book I can’t wait to get it and devour it! I am rarely disappointed either. Catherine was definitely no different in my expectations. I could hardly wait to get started and delve into this time machine of love, deceit, and intrigue. All of the great things we think of when we think of the great monarchies. I have a fantasy of these time periods from Europe that I put myself in these books as part of the court of each monarch. I know that is crazy since no one really ever survives the ‘Court’ unscathed or quite possibly dead!  But still I picture myself there and try to imagine what it would have been like.  I don’t think I would like to have actually lived in these time periods but poking my head in through a book is the best adventure!

This book is superbly written and the research impeccably done.  It is hard enough to piece together a life of someone from 200+ years ago when records are not the most accurate or complete. But to also piece together a full life of personalities and drama is quite another. Ms.Weidenweber has combined these together to create a story wrapped in so much excitement and mystery that I could hardly put it down each day. She made Catherine so easy to love and to watch her grow into her status as Empress was filled with answers as to why she was the person she became in the end. I don’t think I would have liked Catherine any other way. If I just looked at the facts I would see a harsh, spoiled Queen and not cared who she was. The author truly made Catherine into a real person that had real struggles in life.

I give this book 5 stars! If you love historical fiction then you must read this book. It leaves you trying to keep your eyes open in the middle of the night because you just can’t bear to put it down. You finish the book fully satisfied of an adventure into the past.


Cheryl said...

Great review! I really enjoyed reading it. Did you know the author received a PHD for her work and research into this historical figure?

Melissa said...

I did not know that! She did an amazing job with the history and setting of the era. I wrote the review last night and tossed all night thinking of all the other things I should have/could have added to my review. It would have sounded more like a term paper though :)

Historical fiction is one of my top favorite genres. My kids call me a book nerd and that is one of the reasons and the fact I get so absorbed into the story.

Great author!