Women’s History Month: Catherine The Great

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we’ve asked our authors to write about the strong women their books focus on. This week, Eva Stachniak, author of Empress of the Night, a book about Catherine the Great of Russia, gives us a peek at the Queen’s story.   Creating fiction around a historical figure, especially a powerful woman monarch, is a vivid reminder that such women were blazing new trails, not just in politics. They were pushing the boundaries of our understanding of gender roles and the mysteries of the human heart.   As I prepared to write Empress of the Night I often reflected on Catherine’s love affairs. In spite of what had frequently been said about her, Catherine the Great was a serial monogamist, always seeking love that would last. As one relationship ended—most … Continued

Catherine The Great, by Robert K. Massie

The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure young German princess who traveled to Russia at fourteen and rose to become one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in history. Catherine’s family, friends, ministers, generals, lovers, and enemies—all are here, vividly described. These included her ambitious, perpetually scheming mother; her weak, bullying husband, Peter (who left her lying untouched beside him for nine years after their marriage); her unhappy son and heir, Paul; her beloved grandchildren; and her “favorites”—the parade of young men from whom she sought companionship and the recapture of youth as well as sex. Here, too, is the giant figure of Gregory Potemkin, her most significant lover and possible husband, with … Continued