The tsarina of the imperial court, wife, mother, lover… Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, takes stock of her tumultuous life
An accident has forced the Empress to take to her bed, and she may not have much time left. There is a great deal from the past to be settled. But how painful some things are to remember!
“No one asked whether I wished to be married to Grand Duke Peter! Whether I, a fourteen-year-old, wished to be married to anyone at all! No one asked whether I wished to move to a new homeland, Russia, that mystical land of whose people and habits I had no knowledge.”
Thanks to her incredible strength of will, this German princess rose to become ruler of all Russia, but at what price? She had to give up her family, her name, her faith and her independence, and she was spied upon constantly. Her wedding was a glorious ceremony, but her bridegroom, the sixteen-year-old Grand Duke Peter, would go on to disappoint his wife on many occasions. The young wife’s most important task was to produce an heir to the imperial throne, but that would have to wait.
Laila Hirvisaari draws the reader into a world of court intrigue and lavish balls, but she also describes in touching detail the emotions that have been common to women throughout the centuries.
Catherine the Great (1729–1796) has long been a source of fascination for Hirvisaari – her play, Catherine the Great or the laugh of wisdom at foolishness, was premiered at the Finnish National Theatre in 1996.
“I, Catherine” is full of suspense and a skilful historical novel. – Kaleva 2011
Hirvisaari’s narrative is unpretentious, beautiful and charmingly contradictory. The strength of the novel is admirable. – Vantaan Lauri 2012
Foreign rights information
An excerpt in English is available.
Published in Estonia (Varrak).