Official Stuff –
Author – Sherry D. Ficklin
Pages – 262
Publisher – Clean Teen Publishing
Series – Stolen Empire
ONE GIRL WILL BRING AN EMPIRE TO ITS KNEES…
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.
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.
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?
My Rating – 4 1/2 of 5 stars
I received a digital copy of this novel from Netgalley on behalf of Clean Teen Publishing in exchange for a fair review.
This book is loosely based on Catherine the Great. If you don’t know who that is, she was the longest reigning female ruler of Russia that has that horrible 200+ year rumor that she died while trying to have sex with a horse (She actually had a stroke). I don’t know enough about Catherine the Great to be picky about the inaccuracies in this book (though most of the names/events are accurate), but part of the reason I liked this book so much was that it IS somewhat historical.
Sophie is the daughter of an impoverished Prince in Prussia. She has been requested to travel to Russia by the Empress Elizabeth, to see if she is a suitable match for her nephew Peter, who is also her heir.
Sophie knows that it is either convince Peter to marry her or her father loses his lands and she will be forced to marry her uncle (gross!). So she travels with her mother to Russia.
After facing an attempted robbery on the road to court (which Sophie fights off herself. Yea, she’s a bit of a badass) she learns her life is not exactly safe at court. She’s a bit of a favorite of the Empress but there are people who are against an alliance between Russia and Prussia. They would gladly do away with Sophie and bring in their own hopeful fiancée for Peter that would bring a different alliance.
She has to play games to catch Peter’s attention. He acts like a spoiled rotten child (and he is), he likes to ignore the girls fighting for this attention. He likes the game of the chase and Sophie has to learn to play along to secure her future. He’s also a bit sadistic, torturing a prisoner for fun.
However, during her pursuit of Peter, she meets Alexander, a friend of Peter’s with wealth but no title. He’s everything Peter is not and Sophie can’t help but fall for him. A future with Alexander would mean running away and leaving everything behind.
I really liked Sophie. As I said earlier, she’s a badass. She can fight, ride, and hit a bull’s eye. She’s smart and headstrong though she knows it’s her responsibility to take care of her family. She loves her father deeply and doesn’t want to let him down. Though her mother is a pain in the ass. Her mother was forced into marriage and hates about every second of it, now she is forcing Sophie into the same thing.
She’s not very nice to Sophie and she has her own agenda at court.
Besides Peter, there is Sergi and Alexander. Sergi is her guard appointed to her by the Empress and he’s not too shabby in the swoon department. They get pretty close as he promises to protect Sophie at all costs. Alexander is romantic and smart and the kind of guy that Sophie should really be with.
In preparation for her possible engagement, Sophie is advised to take lessons on…umm…womanly arts. The instructors name happened to be Madame Groot, which cracked me up because of Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy but I know it’s just a random coincidence.
Some of the time line was a little wonky for me. The pacing slowed down and picked up at weird points but overall, I really enjoyed this book. It kept me interested and I got through it pretty quickly. I’m eagerly looking forward to the next book!