Tsarina by Ellen Aplsten

Tsarina is a historical novel set during the reign of Peter the Great. Peter was the Russian Tsar who thru force of will and law tried to transform Russian society from an Asian perspective to a European prospective.

This story is told from the point of view of his mistress and later 2nd wife, Catherine Alexeyevna who starts life as a serf. She flees her life as a serf, she travels thru parts of what was Swedish controlled territory and gets caught up in the Great Northern War between Sweden and Russia.

She works her way up from war captive to become the mistress of the Tsar of Russia, Peter. The book gives a strong sense of place and you feel that you are there in the wild and turbulent times while Russia fights Sweden and Catherine repeatedly pregnant has trouble producing a male heir.

As a historical novel, it is a good read. The only problem I had was the jumping back in forth from the present to the past. It was difficult sometimes to tell when the story was taking place. I would rate a 4 star out of 5 stars for this novel.

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