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
Here is what some of the bloggers have to say on Empress of the Night:
CANADA & the US
The Hook of a book: guest post On Catherine the Great as grandmother.
The Gilmore Guide to Books review The events of Catherine’s reign have been widely covered by biographers and while Stachniak does include important political moments in the novel, it is something much more. Her writing inhabits the Russian mindset and that of a great woman determined to bring her country the same level of respect given to their counterparts in the West. It is not just an engrossing read from beginning to end but also imparts some of the sadness that comes from having such enormous power and responsibility yet having to wield it alone.