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The Winter Palace (A novel of the young Catherine the Great) [Kindle Edition]

Eva Stachniak
4.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (3 Kundenrezensionen)

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"Riveting... Stachniak has uncovered a treasure trove of rich material... The real core of Stachniak's tale is that [Catherine and Elizabeth] are women... Casts light over recent Russian history too, which is exactly what historical fiction should do" (Jane Smiley Globe and Mail)

"A wonderful novel, riven with intrigue and startling details, the sort to savour on a long winter evening" (Daily Telegraph)

"The kind of big busty read that sends you back to the history books" (The Sunday Times)

"Extraordinarily absorbing... will have you on the edge of your seat" (Daily Mail)

"A wonderful tale of the Imperial Russia court in all its glittering glory. Eva Stachniak vividly brings to life the early years of the meek young bride who would become the terrifying, fascinating Catherine the Great" (Kate Williams, Author Of England's Mistress And Becoming Queen)


Advance praise for "The Winter Palace"
"Stachniak's brilliant, bold historical novel of eighteenth-century Russia is a masterful account of one woman's progress toward absolute monarchical rule. . . . This superb biographical epic proves the Tudors don't have a monopoly on marital scandal, royal intrigue, or feminine triumph."--"Booklist" (starred review)
"Awash in period details and as gripping and suspenseful as any thriller, "The Winter Palace" gives us a unique look at the making of a queen. Eva Stachniak allows us to peep through keyholes and overhear whispers as we navigate the intrigues of Imperialist Russia along with Sophie, the princess who became Catherine the Great. I loved this book, and this glimpse into a world of silk and shadows, grandeur and gossip."--Melanie Benjamin, author of "The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb"
""The Winter Palace" is an intensely written, intensely felt saga of the early years that shaped the eighteenth century's famou


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 1264 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 512 Seiten
  • Verlag: Transworld Digital (19. Januar 2012)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0552777986
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552777988
  • ASIN: B005I4D9W4
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Nicht aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Nicht aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (3 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #110.407 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Mehr über den Autor

Eva Stachniak, geboren im polnischen Wrocław, lebt in Toronto. Sie hat für Radio Canada International gearbeitet und als Dozentin für Englisch und Geisteswissenschaften am Sheridan College gelehrt. Mit Necessary Lies gewann sie den Canada First Novel Award.

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4.0 von 5 Sternen
4.0 von 5 Sternen
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Katharina die Große von Russland 6. Februar 2013
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
mal eine andere Sicht von Katharina der Großen: als junges Mädchen aus Sicht einer einfacheren jungen Frau. Interessant zu lesen, auch schön die Berichterstattung über die Mammutbauten von Kaiserin Elisabeth. Russische Politik wird einleuchtend erklärt. Russische Denkweise auch. Insgesamt sehr lesenswert
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1 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen The Winter Palace 25. April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Exciting historical novel about a spy who helped put Catherine the Great on the Russian throne. Fascinating and thrilling, a page Turner.
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1 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Seltsam 28. Januar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Das Produkt wurde prompt und zuverlässig geliefert. Hingegen strotzt die Geschichte von historischen Fehlern, welche selbst einem Russland-Laien auffallen und sich per Lexikon als falsch verifizieren lassen. Auch ist der Roman unsäglich langfädig.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 3.9 von 5 Sternen  276 Rezensionen
67 von 71 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Exciting and atmospheric! 27. August 2011
Von P. B. Sharp - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
Russia has always been surrounded by an aura of mystery even today and the Winter Palace and Saint Petersburg seem as far off and remote as the moon! In this fine historical novel by Polish born Eva Stachniak we are going to sneak right into the palace and right into the private rooms of royalty. You get the feeling throughout this novel that the author understands the Russian psyche well, bringing to life the exalted men and women of Russia's elite and the servants who toil to keep the palaces functioning.

In fact we are going to be Peeping Toms. Or actually, Peeping Thomasinas as "Winter Palace" is penned by a servant girl named Varvara. The old saying that no man is a hero to his valet is pretty much true here as Varvara sees everything, goes everywhere and judges much. Although the way Varvara manages to inveigle herself into the palace is complicated and contrived, this novel is a splendid romp. Varvara becomes the confident of Empress Elizabeth and closely observes her nephew, the Crown Prince Peter who at 16 years of age is cowardly, neurotic.and still wets his bed. She also becomes the friend and confident of the German princess Sophie, in fact she is a sort of double agent. We see the immense panorama of the times through Varvara's eyes.

Everybody in the palace from the Empress Elizabeth to the lowliest scullery maid is waiting with baited breath the arrival of 14 year old Sophie of Anhalt, an obscure German princess who might be a possible mate for the Crown Prince Peter. She is arriving at the palace to be vetted. Sophie is approved and when she has converted (very enthusiastically) to Russian Orthodox, she is married to Crown Prince and assumes the name of Catherine.

Empress Elizabeth, apparently as a reward to one of the young palace guards who had been her lover, forces Egor to marry, Varvara being the reward. Catherine is almost lost in the secondary tale of Varvara and her travails She and her husband move into a house of their own and Varvara gives birth to a little girl, Darya. But Empress Elizabeth needs Varvara back in the palace to act as her spy, however Varvara's sympathy is with Catherine.

Seven years go by and the Crown Princess Catherine has not conceived. To be a little bit delicate so Amazon will not zap my review, Peter can't perform due to a problem which is remedied by surgery. (This actually is historically true). Catherine promptly brings a son to term, and Paul, as he is named by Elizabeth is snatched up by the Empress and taken to her apartments to be brought up by her and not his mother Catherine.

Although Catherine is thoroughly upstaged by the narrator of the tale, Varvara, we see Catherine develop as both a power and a personality. She takes the first of her many lovers and climbs slowly but surely up the ladder of success, success in her case being Empress of Russia. A determined, resolute lady, the word failure does not exist in her vocabulary. Catherine morphs from a rather sensitive, kind hearted girl to a woman much more steely. She usurps the throne from her own husband, Peter and Peter is mysteriously murdered. It has never been proved whether or not Catherine was privy to his death. (Shades of Mary Queen of Scots and Darnley.).

When Catherine grabs the reins as autocrat of all the Russias, she will go on to try and bring Russia out of the Dark Ages. She corresponds with preeminent historical intellectual figures including Voltaire. She has a powerful intellect herself, but she is an adulteress, a traitor and a murderess. She becomes too important to bother with a friendship such as Varvara and Varvara must go on, with her daughter at her side, to carve out her own niche in life.

Author Stachniak dishes up a historically- based stew that is a savory and pungent . She captures very well the atmosphere of the eighteenth century Russia, where greed, ambition, treachery and superstition rubbed shoulders, where every man had to watch his back. The title "The Winter Palace" is inappropriate as much of the action takes place elsewhere but this is a fast-paced novel that will easily hold your interest. However, this is not a novel about Catherine, it is a novel about Varvara.

P.S. On November 8, 2011, Robert K. Massie's "Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman" will be published. Don't miss it!
110 von 122 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Long-winded and not very engaging 15. September 2011
Von Jennifer Rothwell - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
I'll start by saying I really did think I would enjoy this novel when I picked it out. It is exactly the type of novel I normally go for--historical fiction based upon a key figure in history. This novel is also told through the voice of a third party, which I also usually enjoy, as it allows the reader to see the broader spectrum of events from that period of time. I have never read an historical fiction novel based upon Catherine the Great before and so I was eager to begin reading this novel.
It started out with a lot of promise, introducing Varvara as our voice of the novel, giving a quick sweep of her background, and then placing her perfectly within the Russian court, under the wing of the 'spy-master' Chancellor Bestuzhev. I knew from the synopsis that Varvara was to become the confidante of Catherine, and so the anticipation of how this relationship was to be shaped by the author grew and grew as I read. And then it fizzled out. Although Varvara had been secretly loyal to Catherine all along, the point in their relationship when Catherine finally asked Varvara to be 'on her side' did not occur until halfway through the novel, and even then I felt that Varvara did not become Catherine's true confidante until about two thirds of the way through when she alone was privy to Catherine's relationship with a certain lover. By this point I was so tired of the monotony of the story--Varvara reporting gossip to the Empress Elizabeth, then reporting gossip to Catherine, then reporting gossip to the Chancellor. And the gossip wasn't even that interesting. Lots of names of people and places, but no historical detail that could serve to widen my knowledge or perspective of this time in history.
The last third of the novel did improve somewhat and became a little 'jucier', but I have to be honest and I felt that it was too little, too late. I tend to enjoy a novel where the reader is able to become emotionally attached to the protagonist, which in this case would be Varvara, and yet I found her to be such a two-dimensional and vague figure that I never managed to feel any such attachment. Even Catherine didn't jump off the page as a vibrant and colorful character.
All in all I guess this novel was just not to my taste.
23 von 25 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Slow Moving Novel 2. Oktober 2011
Von Betty K - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
When her mother expires of cholera and her father, a Polish bookbinder in the Russian court, dies soon after of a broken heart, Barbara Nikolayevna or Varvara in Russian is left an orphan at the mercy of Empress Elizabeth. At first, the woman in charge of female servants treats Varvara miserably, but soon she takes the eye of Alexi Bestuzhev-Rhumin, the Chancellor of Russia.

For a few sexual favours, he trains her in the art of spying and helps her to gain the confidence of the empress. Eventually she is given a prominent position in the palace, high enough to begin a friendship with the young Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst who becomes Catherine the Great. It is through the eyes and point-of-view of Varvara that the book is written.

I really wanted to like this book a lot. The blood of Mother Russia runs through the veins of my own husband, and I am always fascinated by the history of that country, sad as it is. But I found the plot moved forward very slowly, and it took me much longer than usual to read the novel. It's definitely not a page-turner; rather a book to take in small doses.

That's not to say it isn't well done. The writing is literary and beautiful in style--often quite poetic--but it is a dirge rather than a lyrical piece. It is often depressing. As I read, I could almost hear the sound of The Volga Boatmen in the background. It is that natural Russian melancholy that prevails throughout the story.

Still, I would recommend it so any lover of historical fiction. There is lots to learn from the book. Although rather improbable, it is very informative at times.
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen The Winter Palace is Just OK 9. März 2012
Von W. P. Mcfarlane - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This is a good read for the most part. If you are interested in the history of the Russian Imperial Family this book may be for you....however be prepared for fluff,speculation and some inaccuracies. The author refers to the day after Christmas as being December 26th. I believe the Imperial Court at the time of Empress Elizabeth celebrated Christmas according to the Julian Calendar which would actually push the date of Christmas in Russia into January. I also notice many characters address the Empress Elizabeth with the style Your Imperial Highness. Did members of the court not address the Empress as your Imperial Majesty?
I think this is a book more about intrigue inside the court of the Empress Elizabeth rather than a work about Catherine the Great. The book opens and closes well but in the middle there is a literary wasteland as broad as the Russian steppes. If this really is a novel about Empress Catherine there could have been a lot less of this muddling middle bit and a lot more about Catherine's reign after seizing the throne. Cheers
11 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Lack of imagination! 27. Januar 2013
Von Sara - Veröffentlicht auf
This is probably a fun, non-threatening piece of chick lit. There's girl power. There's gossip. There's plenty of motherhood. There's sex with lots of different guys. (Well, our main character doesn't get around much. That kind of behavior is left to other characters, so we can judge it from a safe distance.)

But The Winter Palace lacks the intellectual integrity and sweeping imagination I want in historical fiction. The author has clearly read lots of facts about the 18th century Russian imperial court, but doesn't seem to be able to imagine what it was actually like to be there. There are some historical anachronisms; the main character in particular holds some jarringly modern views on marriage. The characters' daily lives and beliefs are surprisingly secular. There's no uncomfortable sense that these people come from a world totally different from mine. I can relate to them without confronting any unfamiliar perspectives or values. It's too easy.

Perhaps most disappointingly - as other reviewers have mentioned - the "spying" at the center of this story consists mainly of light gossip. Where's the political intrigue? Where are the manipulative plots and counterplots? Even leading up to Catherine's coup, we get only the vaguest mention of bribery and cajoling; more attention is given to the pamphlets being printed for the occasion. I expected political intrigue to be at the heart of this story, but instead it's utterly absent.

The writing style isn't amazing, but it's not bad. The facts of the story are clearly well-researched. The premise is interesting, and the way it's described in the opening pages is pure high drama. But I was hoping for an immersive historical experience. This isn't it.
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