"Empress of the Night", by Eva Stachniak

Empress of the Night: A Novel of Catherine the Great - Eva Stachniak

A novel of Catherine the Great book 2

Based on Catherine’s memoirs, this second novel seems more of a literary novel than anything else. Its approach is quite daunting and has less of a straightforward narrative than “The Winter Palace” had. Told through a series of vignettes that shift back and forth in time the princess on her death bed recalls and reflects on the key episodes of her reign. This complex and psychologically intense novel of a woman in charge of her destiny should have been a very captivating read….but

The pussyfoot narrative left me baffled on too many occasions to have keep my attention at bay and I had a hard time focusing on what should have been an intimately captures of history’s most fascinating monarch. The flashbacks lacked coherence. The narrative was very choppy on many occasions and the prose did not flow well throughout. The whole book was a mishmash of frivolous events and Catherine’s boring love affairs. I was expecting to read the greatest challenges Catherine had to face and how she positioned herself. What we have is Catherine’s long stream of incomprehensible babbles for too many pages….. 

This said ¾ into the book I abandoned it……