Publisher: de Arbeiderspers
Original title: The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great
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.
Details. A lot of details. I do like the Russian tsar stories but this was slow and very detailed on most parts. It failed to keep my interest when the third kid got involved. There are many notes and back room conversations not going anywhere. And those names. Russian names are the worst. There are 5 names to describe one person and it is easy to get confused. Specially with a few of the same first names.
Though none of the characters really impressed me Barabara was probably not the worst character to follow. With her position within the Russian court there are enough interesting areas to look at. Despite the fact that she is a pretty strong character trying to make the best life of herself and grasping the concept of politics quite fast she failed to really impress me.