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3.91  ·  Rating details ·  191 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Before there was Catherine the Great, there was Catherine Alexeyevna: the first woman to rule Russia in her own right. An astonishing debut novel about the incredible rise of Catherine the I of Russia, from a singular new talent.
Hardcover, 464 pages
Expected publication: October 13th 2020 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2002)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  191 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Catherine Alexeyevna (1684-1727) was of humble beginnings, becoming the second wife of Peter the Great and Empress of Russia from 1725 until her death. Pulling herself out of poverty and servitude through her intellect, wit, and sensuality, she rose to become one of the most powerful women in Russia.

Village of Livonia, 1699. Marta, as she was known back then, is nine years old. Her childhood brings a vivid portrayal of peasants life, meaning pretty much suffering.

A merchant from Walk, Vassily,
Beb ✨
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Caterina è stata una grande donna, forte e determinata, da cui bisognerebbe prendere ispirazione. Senza pensare alle sventure della sua infanzia, basti solo pensare alle tredici gravidanze da cui solo due figlie raggiunsero la maggiore età. Ha seppellito undici figli ed è riuscita ad andare avanti. Senza contare la sua determinazione nella sua ascesa sociale e la forza di mantenere la sua posizione. Lei e la sua dignità che non l'hanno mai fatta vacillare. Astuta e calcolatrice, era l'unica ...more
Dec 28, 2019 added it
I received a free copy of this book as a Goodreads Giveaway.

Tsarina is a fictionalized account of the life of Catherine I of Russia, told in the first person. Catherine rose from peasant origins in the Baltic region to become the second wife of Peter the Great and, ultimately, sole ruler of Russia upon Peter's death.

The ascent of such an obscure figure to the highest levels of power can be the basis for a fascinating literary historical novel. When I requested the novel, I expected Wolf Hall set
Jan 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Tsarina was an interesting historical fiction novel. I expected to read about Catherine the Great. Instead the focus was on the Catherine I, the second wife of Peter the Great in the Russia of the 1700s.
Catherine, the Tsarina, had a very rough childhood as the peasants of any European country would have experienced. There is a lot of filth, violence, and crude activity/living. I did learn more about Russia, Moscow, the construction of St. Petersburg, and lack of morals in the Russian court.
Rossetto e guai
Romanzo molto valido per conoscere la storia di Caterina I e Pietro il
Grande. Scorrevolissimo ( raccontato in prima persona) mantiene alto linteresse dalla prima allultima pagina. Probabilmente lunico appunto che posso fare e che non mi consente di dare più stelle é labbondanza di scene di sesso. Non che queste siano messe a caso e a mio avviso non si finisce mai nel ridicolo della narrativa rosa ma per personale gusto le avrei almeno dimezzate.
Pregio enorme invece restituire la complessità dei
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Per quanto mi abbia sempre affascinato, non sono mai stata una cima in storia. Se a questo poi si aggiunge anche il fatto che, tra una riforma della scuola e laltra, mi sono ritrovata a fare la storia antica 2000 volte e quella moderna a spizzichi e bocconi perché ogni volta cerano più secoli da fare che lezioni per poter spiegare e professoresse al limite dellincapacità, si può capire come mai le mie conoscenze della Russia del 700 siano pari a zero. Diciamo che sapevo dellesistenza di Pietro ...more
Emma Curtis
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of Tsarina and I was in heaven reading it. The writing is superb, completely immersing me in 17th Century Russia. This is a gorgeous tale about a staggeringly brutal era in Russian history. Telling the story of Catherine 1 of Russia, wife of Peter The Great, against the backdrop of a seemingly never-ending war, it is an astonishing achievement. I learned so much, but I was entertained more. This is a terrific story brilliantly told and I highly recommend ...more
Taylor Thomas
Dec 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
Definitely takes some creative liberties, but a beautifully written and fun ride for what it is.
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Die Geschichte war sehr interessant, hat sich leider ein wenig gezogen. Ein Personenregister wäre auch ganz hilfreich gewesen, da ich mir die vielen russischen Namen nicht merken konnte.
Il libro parla della vita di Marta, una ragazza di umili origini che diventa Caterina I, zarina di Russia e moglie dello Zar Pietro il grande (sí, quello che ha fondato San Pietroburgo 😍). Non vedevo l'ora di leggerlo perché ultimamente mi sto appassionando tanto a questo Paese e volevo approfondire di più la sua storia. Avevo dunque grandi aspettative, ma sono rimasta un po' delusa. Innanzitutto ci sono troppe scene "hot", al punto che all'ennesima sono andata direttamente a fine capitolo 🤦♀ ...more
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten is an excellent historical fiction (with a dash of biography as well but mostly fiction) of the life of Catherine I Empress of Russia.

We find that she came from humble origins with the given name of Marta, a Polish peasant, was able to escape a troubled and rough life, and ended up becoming not only the second wife of Peter the Great, but also Empress upon his death in 1725. I already knew a great deal about the Romanov dynasty, however it is always exciting to read
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When it is eternally snowy and cold outside, superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book and many more today. LOL

I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. My sister Poppy asked to read it and review it as she read it years ago.

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it
Zoe Radley
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an exquisite tale of a strong, determined woman in a time when most women were told to be seen and not heard. The writing is brilliant and the plot seems to flow effortlessly along. This will definitely find favour among the historical fiction community.
Floriana Amoruso
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Letto e recensito da Iaia e Floriana
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I won this book in a giveaway and was so excited to read it! I really enjoyed this book a lot. I have never really studied Russian monarchs before and so this was fascinating. Again I do not know how much of this is true or not but I will tell you that this book has encouraged me to learn more about Catherine I.
P.s. I will say that there are graphic sex scenes and graphic rape scenes. So if that makes you squeamish I would maybe not read this book.
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
I did not enjoy this at all. I've noticed the higher ratings are not from the English translation. Something must not be coming across as well. This was poorly written.
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway. The story of Catherine 1 of Russia. Catherine, who was born with the name Marta, came from humble beginnings. She became acquainted with Peter during war and eventually became his companion and then Tsarina. The novel is interesting from the historical perspective. I would read another novel written by this author.
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways-won
I received this in a Goodreads Giveaway. It is an uncorrected bound manuscript, so I am sure the numerous typos will be cleaned up by the final printing. This was the story of a strong, clever woman using all her resources to survive and even, thrive in a world of powerful, selfish, sexist men. There was plenty of intrigue and suspense. I enjoyed the book and would like to read more by this author.
Nov 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Biography of one of the most suprising social promotion. amazing story of a simple girl who bacame a first czarin of Russia. Apart from that it's a picture of life on Russian court, you can learn the fassion of the times and the way of partying buy Russians, how the St. Petersburg was created - all in all great story.
Jennifer Hunt
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaway-wins
Beautifully written with vivid imagery.
Mar 10, 2020 rated it liked it

1725, St. Petersburg and Peter the Great is at the Winter Palace about to die. What follows is a story about his second wife, Catherine I. You could certainly call this a "rags to riches" story, but this is no fairy tale novel.

Marta, born out of wedlock, was a peasant and as such lived in a hut with her father, stepmother and half siblings in devastating poverty. Sold by her family at the age of 15, she goes into servitude. Although illiterate, Marta is by no means unintelligent, she is
Mar 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
480 pages

3 and 1 / 2 stars

Russia in the 18th Century. A time of war, poverty and uncertain futures. Peter the Great is on the throne. Peter is an educated, well-traveled man who has certain ideas about governing Mother Russia.

Marta was a woman who was sold into servitude in her mid-teens. She was uneducated and from a very poor family of serfs. Her life was very hard, until she was taken in by a Lutheran family. The father was the local pastor and he and his wife were very kind and good people.
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Come amante della storia, e della famiglia Romanov (così come la famiglia Tudor), non potevo non leggere un libro di tale importanza.
Partendo dal presupposto che, nella mia ignoranza, al momento conoscevo solo la famiglia di Nicola II, così come la famosa leggenda di Anastasia Romanov, conoscere Marta è stato solo un approfondimento, interessante, di questa famiglia.
Non avrei mai pensato che, allinterno della famiglia reale di Russia, vi fosse atterrata una donna di umili origini come Marta,
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ci ho messo un po' ad azzeccare il giusto approccio di lettura a questo libro. Soprattutto nella parte iniziale, l'onnipresente violenza (fisica e psicologica) è spesso talmente gratuita, e le scene di sesso (consenzienti o meno) sono nella stramaggioranza dei casi così ininfluenti ai fini della trama, che sul momento mi è sembrato di trovarmi di fronte a un retelling un po' facilone, una sorta di abbellimento/abbrutimento teso a rendere la storia di Marta più concepibile per un pubblico ...more
Mar 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy of this book for review from the publisher. Tsarina is an interesting read, as I had not heard much about the second wife of Peter the Great. Marta was a low-born girls who found her way into Peter the Great's heart and ended up being the Tsarina of Russia, Catherine the I.

The best part about this book was the graphic depiction of the harsh realities of early Russia and it opened my eyes to the brutal history of Russia and its royal family. There wasn't much that I didn't
Doris Vandruff
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Marta and her family are very poor. She is sold as a maid. Rescued, gifted to another man. Ultimately she was given to the Tzsar Peter as a companion. Through her life with the Tzsar she saw him in many different lights. He could be kind and loving, but also cold, calculating, murderous, and unforgiving.
Marta was always loyal to the Tzsar.
Even when she saw him with many women. She had twelve children with him. Two daughter's lived to adults. She made friends and enemies. Most importantly, even
Diane Secchiaroli
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very good historical novel about Catherine, the First, Tsarina of Russia and second wife of Peter, the Great. Marta as she was known rose from being a bought child of serfs to Empress of Russia. This follows her life through being bought at 9 years old, being a washerwoman, being forced into sex by her employer, killing her employer, running away, almost being forced into prostitution, being the woman of the hour on campaigns and catching the eye of Peter the Great. I learned a lot about this ...more
Arianna Graffeo
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Una storia molto cruda al livello fi carnalita'. La meravigliosa, ricca e travagliata storia di una donna, Marta, che anche se la vita la riusciva a far cadere a terra; lei è stata sempre in grado di ricominciare al meglio che poteva sempre a testa alta. Sin da quando orfana di madre è stata venduta per del denaro e fatta schiava da un uomo orribile, Vasijli, che ha dato inizio alle sue terribili sofferenze. Marta si è macchiata del suo delitto, ma essendo guardata o guidata da qualcosa più ...more
Emma Olsen
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Kindle Copy for Review from Net Galley and St. Martin's Press.

I received a free, advance copy of this book and this is my unbiased and voluntary review.

A fascinating fantasy read about Catherine the first of Russia. How a peasant girl who grew up to become the second wife of Peter the Great. At a time of violence and cruelness in the streets, how she survived and became tsarina.

How in the end she might be responsible for her husband death and affected the course of Russias royal history. As he
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