Release Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Genre: Young Adult | Historical Fiction
Before she can become the greatest empress in history, fifteen-year-old Sophie will have to survive her social-climbing mother’s quest to put her on the throne of Russia—at any cost.
Alone in a new and dangerous world, learning who to trust and who to charm may mean the difference between becoming queen and being sent home in shame to marry her lecherous uncle. With traitors and murderers lurking around every corner, her very life hangs in the balance. Betrothed to one man but falling in love with another, Sophie will need to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to become the empress she is destined to be.
In a battle for the soul of a nation, will love or destiny reign supreme?
Imperial Court holds dangers like nothing Sophie has ever faced before. In the heart of St. Petersburg, surviving means navigating the political, romantic, and religious demands of the bitter Empress Elizabeth and her handsome, but sadistic nephew, Peter. Determined to save her impoverished family—and herself—Sophie vows to do whatever is necessary to thrive in her new surroundings. But an attempt on her life and an unexpected attraction threatens to derail her plans.
Queen of Someday is the first installment in the Stolen Empire series. Ficklin tackles one of the more intriguing characters in history, Catherine the Great (1729–1796), who was the longest serving Russian monarch, reigning from 1762 to her death in 1796. Ficklin uses her own imagination in telling how Sophie von Anhalt-Zerbst became ruler of Russia.
Told in the first person narrative, 15-year-old Sophie and her mother are invited to Russia by Czarina Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the Great who she overthrew. With the Russian Empress without any children of her own, she chooses her nephew Peter to be her heir, and because of who Sophie's mother is, figured the match would be a good one. Upon her 16th birthday, Sophie voluntarily converted to Orthodox Christianity and took the name Ekaterina, or Catherine and shortly thereafter was pushed into marrying Peter while her heart was still set on another.
I will say this about Queen of Someday, if you are like me who dislikes twisted love triangles, then perhaps you won't like it as much. Yes, Sophie has three men biding for her heart, while her mind is twisted into several emotions. However, I found myself tossing my dislike out the window because of who Catherine really was. Yes, she had lovers of her own, but so didn't her husband the despicable Grand Duke Peter who just grated on my every nerves.
I found myself intrigued and fully engaged in Sophie/Catherine's story. She's a character who isn't weak by any means, and shows it right from the very first scene. While she does struggle, and makes mistakes, you have to give her some leeway in being new to this world. She knows that her actions will either save her father's title and land, or she will be sent off to a convent or killed by the Empress. Yes folks, they really, really did that back in the 18th century.
I think one of the more appealing characters to me, besides Catherine, is Sergei Saltykov, a real life Russian military officer who came to Sophie's rescue, and later became her guardian, Russian language and court politics trainer, her lover, and the only one she could really trust. Queen of Someday is filled with political intrigue, betrayal, romance, deceit, and dangerous situations where one wrong move can have devastating affects on everyone you love.
For a history aficionado like myself, Catherine's story has always intrigued me. Catherine wasn't what you would call a faithful wife, or ruler, but with a husband like Peter, who could blame her? Ficklin is telling a story from her own perspective and using Catherine's own words to tell her story. One should not take the story as Fact, as authors often take liberal chances in telling their story. Queen of Someday is fairly quick read at only 272, and that truly was enough to get the author's point across.
Next up: Queen of Tomorrow (Stolen Empire # 2); Releases October 2, 2015
Sherry D. Ficklin is a full time writer from Colorado where she lives with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a fluctuating number of chickens and house guests. A former military brat, she loves to travel and meet new people. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.
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