This vivid depiction of 18th century Russia tells the true story of Marta, a former serf whose beauty and political acumen take her to the highest echelons of Peter the Great’s court as Catherine I. Although this rags-to-riches transformation may sound like a fairytale, it’s a dark and brutal journey, one in which Marta confronts scheming, treachery and violence, both before and after she meets the tsar she is to marry. Her greatest challenge is to stay alive and retain some semblance of compassion in an environment that rewards only power. There are no Cinderellas in this tale, but it’s all the more fascinating for that!
Meghan Casey (Queen's Square Library)