Both The Winter Palace and Empress of the Night have an audiobook version. In the US both are read by an award winning Hollywood actress Beata Poźniak whose voice and passion for storytelling makes listening to both novels a great pleasure.
This is what The Hollywood Times has to say about the recoding:
The novel’s complex structure and huge cast of characters called for a narrator with an impressive range, and Pozniak certainly delivered. Her wonderfully expressive voice and authentic Eastern European accent were the perfect complement to the psychologically intense novel.
Poźniak’s smoke -and -velvet voice somehow manages to perfectly capture the lushness and richly atmospheric quality of Stachniak’s vivid prose. The nineteen hours of narration become a thrilling journey to an exotic place and time.
To listen to excerpts from both novels please go to:
Empress of the Night is my second novel of Catherine the Great. The first one, The Winter Palace told Catherine’s story from the point of view of a place spy. Empress of the Night, written in close third person (which means that the reader sees the world through the eyes of the novel’s principal character) lets the Empress of Russia herself tell her own story.
Here are some questions to stimulate a discussion on the novel:
Does a woman ruler face different challenges than a man? What are they?
Is a woman ruler judged more harshly than a man?
This post is a work in progress–a response to many of your requests. I promise to update it with portraits of the chief characters of Catherine’s court who appear in Empress of the Night.
…ambitious…structurally complex and psychologically intense…. Empress of the Night aims for Hilary Mantel. Stachniak’s writing is distinct, however, especially in vivid description of sensory details: perfume, sweat and the click of heels on polished floorboards.—Quill & Quire
…unfailing attention to detail, whether describing the pain of childbirth or the manner of a courtier’s behaviour and appearance. –National Post
The beauty of this historical novel lies in Stachniak’s wonderfully vivid and evocative prose. She excels at creating a strong sense of time and place, rich with sensory details. –Winnipeg Free Press