I was drawn to this book while shopping for gifts at Barnes & Noble book store. I scanned it, put it down, walked away and finally decided I would get it. It was a good choice.
I am about 1/3 into the book. The reader learns about Sophia's (later named Catherine by Empress Elizabeth) birth not being welcomed. Her mother, Joanna, wanted a boy. She believed a boy would raise the possibilities of improving her social status.
Elizabeth arranges a marriage between the Grand Duke Peter (17) and Catherine (16) for purposes of procreation of a child to succeed to the throne. But neither Peter nor Catherine is taught about male-female intimacy. Catherine remains a virgin for several years after their marriage.
Reading the historical events of Catherine the Great during the 18th Century from her memoirs gives a closer look at her authentically. It gives a clearer understanding of who she was not only as a queen, but as a woman with challenges politically, emotionally and mentally.
The author is a Pulitzer Prize winning author and I can see why. The writing is entertaining, intriguing, historical, and well written.
Wishing you the best - Theresa Maria