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Friday, March 9, 2012

Read: The Winter Palace

I have an infatuated with Russian History, I blame it on my Slavic ancestry. Soviet History, is somewhat of mystery. The Russia empire may be European; but the vast and cruel topography of the country isolates the state from the rest of the western world. The Russian Empire has always had strength that has been misunderstood and frightening to other powers.

In "The Winter Palace," award winning author Eva Stachniak, brings to life the animation of the most illusive empire through the awkward adolescence of Sophie and Peter III.  Sophie, is the insecure girl who would grow into her title as Catherine The Great.  The story is told through the narration of Varvara (Barbara), a beautiful orphan turned palace servant. Varvara a book binders daughter is employed to serve as: the prince's reader, the empress's tongue, and Catherine's greatest confident.

The Winter Palace, is an inviting and intoxicating read that transcends time. As I read, I could hear the empress and her shrill voice;  I could touch the elaborate fabrics of the tapestry; and I could stand in awe at admiration of the architecture of the worlds greatest palace. In greater detail, I could hear the banter of carpenters as the renovated and revamped the grounds.  Eva Stanchniak has a true gift for words. Her talent goes beyond her excelled ability to poetically place sounds in order. Eva writes as if she remembers the story first hand. I am convinced "The Winter Palace," is Eva Stanchniak sharing her memory of life on the grounds and being the grandeur of the 18th century empire.

The winter palace is a visually stunning read, that lures you in with vivid scenery; and catches you with vicious scandals. Like the winter palace it self, the characters are big, loud, intimidatingly beautiful, and surreal. The quality or research that Eva Stanchniak compiled to write this novel is beyond impressive. The book reads in accordance to historical events. The story is narrated in a friendly voice, distant, familiar, cold, and solitaire. The Winter Palace, is a beautiful and timely read. The relevance, and parallels  of the story to modern time is present in the details of the relationships and the heart ache of growing away from yourself. 

I read "The Winter Palace," in a single weekend. I Loved the book, I love the story, and I respect the raw emotion and truth of the cast of characters who populated the pages. The winter palace is a pleasure to read. 

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