AliceinWonderland's Reviews > The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great

The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak
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's review
May 12, 2012

it was ok
Read in May, 2012

- I was so looking forward to this book, only to be disappointed AGAIN!
- The unfortunate part is that the premise of the book, including the time period and all of the characters *could* have had such an interesting story to tell, but Stachniak falls short.
- To start off with, I believe the choice of a first person narrator told from the point of a view of a spy or "tongue" under the guise as a chamber maid ruined the writer's ability to truly potray Catherine the Great.
- I mean, who is she really?? This daunting figure in history, yet Stachniak leaves me wondering...Is Catherine heartless or is she full of love? Is she clever and full of guile or being manipulated by others, or was it just good timing? Is she loyal or not?
- Honestly, 3/4 of the book felt like it was about Empress Elizabeth's temper tantrums!
- We don't see the characters true motivations, fears or inner wants/desires...(not counting the supremely obvious favourites: MONEY SEX AND POWER.)
- Though Stachniak's writing style was decent, I felt like all she was doing was the proverbial "info-dumping" to show how much supposed research she did. Aside from descriptions of gowns, fabrics and plants/flowers, I don't see much detail at all...
- In 1746 this happened, and then in the fall/autumn, that happened - YAWN!
- If you want a good historical fiction with good characterizeration and dialogue, try "WOLF HALL" by Hilary Mantel instead! At least I felt I knew WHO Thomas Cromwell really was, or at least who Mantel wanted to portray him to be...instead this book, where I really didn't care about Catherine at all, which is kind'of a problem when the book is about her!
- Disappointed.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Kathie H Thanks for the book recommendation!

Melissa I think some of the reviewer's questions will be answered in the sequel to this book.

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