Jean Maxwell
Jean Maxwell asked:

I know the Massies are the bomb on Russia and Catherine the Great but I wonder, Dana did this seem like her lovers in the revolving bedroom door were emphasized because she was female. Kinda askin' if a female author might have stress some other aspects of her reign.

Diane Actually, I thought the author did a good job of placing her love life in perspective. I didn't think he emphasized her dalliances excessively. He spent a great deal of time considering who she was as a person and a woman, as well as a monarch.
Alexis Barone As a woman, I thought it was great that there was a lot of talk about it for multiple reasons.

Back then, and even now to a certain extent, women who are in positions of power can have their relationships be used as weapons against them more so than men. It has been a double standard for centuries. Therefore, to have Catherine's relationships almost *not* be questioned by her court (save for later in her reign, and the comments were only about the age difference) is to show how much power and respect she had in the Russian court.

I think if Massie hadn't gone in her relationships with as much detail, it would have been a faster read, but also less personal. Catherine's relationships, and the fact that she had many, makes her more relatable. She wasn't an empress with one husband and one marriage, she was a woman who experienced ups and downs not only in her profession but also in her personal life. It was really cool to learn about the sacrifices and supplicants having favorites would demand of her, as a person and a leader of an empire.
Kate This is an element of her life that focused on by her court, and by politicians in the European countries. If you read about Louis XIV and Louis XV you get stories about how some of their mistresses were important to the politics of the period.

I've read a great deal about history, and this didn't seem out of proportion, or because she was a women.
Lynn Yeah, well, check out Henry the 8th and Louis the 14th. Sex in high places.
Susan White I agree totally and said about the same in my review of this book.
Jean Maxwell

glad I'm not the one.
Christie I have to say I had the same question. I would have liked that section framed a bit more strongly in terms of sexual freedom and the requirement that she not get married, as Empress.
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