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 eithteenth century.
"Without Catherine's efforts to connect Russia to European thought and culture and her drive to educate the population, Russia would have continued to linger in intellectual Eastern Orthodoxy. Researching, I was immediately confronted with a weal of prejudices history and heaped upon this exceptional woman. Salacious lies had been cleverly mixed with the truth to detract from her legacy -- she was, after all, a woman in men's power business."
"In stark contrast to such malignant, malicious portrayals, I found much evidence leading me to think of her, at times, as a busy housewife cleaning a neglected domicile. I endeavored to cut through the enormous amount of historical data, parsing out the most important, profound events in Catherine's life, to provide an overview of Russian history without getting mired in the sheer volume and complexity of the material. On the basis of such research, I have tried to authentically recreate the life of this great Empress in this historical novel - to elucidate the psychological stresses she faced." - Sigrid Weidenwebber
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