In this sequel to The Winter Palace, Catherine the Great looks back over her eventful life. No longer Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst, Catherine has taken the necessary steps to ensure that she's not encumbered by her hostile mother-in-law or her diffident husband when she claims the throne in a coup d'etat in 1762. Her reign, marked by territorial expansion, educational reform, and the introduction of Western European culture as well as war, political intrigue, and a succession of love affairs, lasts until her death and changes the course of Russian history. Historical Fiction February 2015 newsletter.
Story starts when Catherine has a stroke in her latrine and plot skip through the morass of her life history in a confused string of memories, each vignette poorly connected to the previous. Her first book was more focused, seen through the eyes of one observant character. This story does not attribute any self reflection to Catherine, just puddle jumping from memory to memory. I had to skip through pages as well, it all got so tedious. She dies in the end.
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