Published Jan 2016
Part One of the Romanov Trilogy
An obscure Prussian princess is transformed into Catherine the Great, the longest-ruling female leader of Russia
The Prussian-born daughter of a minor princeling, Augusta Fredericka dreams of being a queen. When, one snowy December night in 1743, she’s summoned to Russia to wed Grand Duke Peter Romanov, she believes all her fantasies are about to come true. But the heir to the Russian throne is not the man Augusta expects. Stunted and deformed, her husband-to-be is an impotent half-wit who plays with dolls, hates women, and can’t bear to be touched. Once they wed, obtaining an heir becomes the driving obsession of Peter’s aunt, the scheming, powerful Empress Elizabeth, who hires a handsome nobleman to seduce the virgin grand duchess. It works: Catherine bears a son, Paul, who is taken from her, leaving her isolated and vulnerable.
Catherine finds fulfillment in a succession of lovers, but lives in constant fear for her life. Her most treacherous enemy is her own husband, who plots to have her arrested for treason. Set against the turbulent background of czarist Russia, Evelyn Anthony’s novel weaves a spellbinding tale of passion and ambition and one woman’s rise to power as empress of her adopted country.