Review: Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten

You’ve heard of Catherine the Great of Russia,  but have you heard of Catherine the I?  Author Ellen Alpsten brings a breathtaking glimpse into the life of Peter the Great’s second wife and successor in this work of fantastic historical fiction. 

Marta, whose reign name is Catherine I, is of humble beginnings, sold as a maidservant by her family in her early years, has cheated death numerous times and ascended the throne of one of the greatest dynasties the world has ever known.  This is the story of Marta, who the author describes as “the most powerful woman history ever forgot.”*

From page one, I was absolutely hooked by the beautiful and immersive experience of the author’s writing style.  The rich descriptions of Russian court life, courtly intrigue, the brutality of life in the era, and the visceral descriptions of Catherine’s relationship with the Tsar weave a difficult and demanding tapestry of this book.  Each part building upon itself to create a breathtaking debut novel from an author that will absolutely be added to my “favorite authors” bookshelf. 

If you love Russian history and can’t get enough of historical romance, this book is for you!  It reminds me so much of Nicholas and Alexandra  by Robert K. Massie, but with a beautiful modern historical fiction twist. 

This book is out on October 13th from St. Martin’s Press!  You don’t want to miss it!

Tsarina is on goodreads and more information on the author, Ellen Alpsten can be found here!

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for a galley copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! 

*@Ealpsten_Author tweet dated April 20, 2020


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