by Sherry D. Ficklin
Series: Stolen Empire #2
Genres: Historical Fiction
Sophie—now Catherine, Grand Duchess of Russia—had a tough first year at Imperial Court. Married at sixteen to Grand Duke Peter, heir to the throne, and settled in their own palace, things are finally looking up. As a new day dawns, she thinks only of securing her future, and the future of their country, during one of the greatest political upheavals of her time. Fighting desperately against forces trying to depose the Empress Elizabeth and put the young Prince Ivan on her throne, Sophie soon finds herself in the middle of a war brewing between her beloved Prussia, and her new empire. But even as she navigates the fragile political landscape, she quickly realizes that she has only begun to discover the tangled web of deceit and infidelity woven over the lavish court of Oranienbaum Palace. When a strange and delicate alliance forms between the young couple, she glimpses a future of happiness, only to see it lost in a moment at the hands of those who still seek to end her life—and prevent her reign. Out of favor with the empress and running out of options, Sophie will have to sacrifice her own innocence on the altar of Russia if she is to save the nation, and herself. To survive, she will have to do the unthinkable, betray those closest to her and become something greater and more dangerous than she ever imagined she could be… a queen
Queen of Tomorrow is the second book in the Stolen Empire by Sherry D. Ficklin and it rocked its predecessor as Ficklin began Catherine’s transformation. With it the tone of this trilogy darkens and in a word is was brilliant. Set in Russia and loosely based on a young Catharine the Great I found myself swept up as Catherine navigated the Imperial Court.
Catherine is now the Grand Duchess of Russia and wed to Peter the Grand Duke. Under the ever-watchful eye of the Empress, Catherine must navigate the courts, appease the Empress, and watch as her husband openly taunts his mistress. Ficklin skillfully draws us back into the story as it picks up right where the Queen of Someday ended. She has this wonderful ability to lure the reader into her story and make them care about the characters.
Watching Catherine create allies, spread her wings and find love all while suffering held me spellbound. I found myself cheering for this clever young woman. While it is true that Ficklin took, liberties particularly with the time line, her interpretation of Catherine the Great only made me eager to learn more about this period in history.
Oranienbaum Palace and Winter Place were both beautifully described and one would think with all the celebrations, gowns and gaiety that these would be fairy tale places to live. Nothing could be further from the truth because behind corridors, there is drama, political maneuvering, backstabbing and power plays. No one is safe; especially with the unrest in Prussia, England and Australia.
Catherine endures more than most could handle throughout Queen of Tomorrow and each scar is like armor making her strong, smarter and wiser. She must control Peter, appease the Queen, gain allies and take care of the people. It is like a wild game of Chess and I was impressed as she carefully considered each move. She conducts herself like a lady and I admire that about her. Do not be fooled into thinking you can walk all over her, because the girl has some wicked spunk. Someone she manages to still genuinely care about people, especially the lower class in her kingdom. Seeing her work the court council to her advantage was a thrill and watching take on the Empress gave me goosebumps.
Queen of Tomorrow was action-packed, intense and darker than the first. Be warned there are violent acts including abuse and rape. Ficklin does managed to show happy moments, weaving in love and kindness despite the circumstances. The ending sets us up perfectly for Queen of Always, which releases in September and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.
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