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European Royalty Group Reads > Catherine the Great: Chapters 11-15

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message 1: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Discuss Chapters 11-15 here.

message 2: by Sera (new)

Sera I'm on Chapter 16 so I have about 150 pages to go in the book. There is so much information in this book, but I am enjoying the well-rounded and comprehensive view that Rounding is giving Catherine.

Catherine's ability to handle her current and former lovers is amazing. What do you think the secret is? I think that it's that she paid them off handsomely, gave them fancy titles, gave them land and let them keep a good bit of their power. It's funny how Catherine failed to let vengeance rule her in any way with these men. I guess that it was easy for her when she always had someone else in the wings, but still it's amazing how she was able to manage all of these men.

I need to get started at work, but I will post more later.

message 3: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments It's very interesting how Catherine juggled all of her lovers, especially when compared to how kings typically dealt with their mistresses. She didn't just toss them away - even if she was no longer interested in a romantic relationship with these men, she still valued the contributions they made and could still make to her government and country. It seems like when kings got tired of their mistresses, the women would maybe get a house and money and promises that the kids would be taken care of, but that seemed to be it (if they even got that). Catherine, on the other hand, kept most of these men around her, and it's surprising that the jealousy from them wasn't worse.

I'm also amazed how Catherine acted during the beginning of these relationships! It's kind of funny how smart and intelligent she could be when governing and how girly and teenager-like she was with these men - all the love letters and declarations that her love would never die (which after the first couple of relationships, the reader just knew these new ones would end also).

It's terrific how many letters from Catherine are around. It's great being able to read first person accounts of what happened. It adds a lot to the story.

message 4: by Sera (new)

Sera You are so right, Sara. I was pleased to hear that were so many first-hand accounts of what happened during Catherine's reign, but what's also interesting is how those letters were at times manipulated by those who wrote them so that history would judge them favorably. Rounding did a great job of raising that possibility when she thought that that might have been the case. I was very impressed with Rounding's whole approach to writing this novel. I would definitely read another book by her again.

message 5: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments I also loved when Rounding pointed out the letters that she believed were meant to be intercepted and read prior to making it to the intended recipient. She did a great job working those letters into the book, and you're right Sera, she did an excellent job pointing out the motivation behind certain letters. The closest thing I can think of today that would be equal to some of these letters (specifically the ones written with history in mind) would be memoirs written by politicians. Maybe people today write biased letters also hoping history will be kind to them, but I think with tv and the internet it would be much harder to do - there is so much evidence today of what people in high places do that it would be difficult for a letter (or memoir) to spin a different story effectively.

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