5 out of 5 starsSetting Prussia and Russia 1743 1745Cover Thoughts I think the painting overall is beautiful another lovely cover design by Tim O Brien , but the dog looks terrified Like WTF is this chick making me come out here in the Russian snow type terrified PlotMy poor German princess, she said You re as plain as a toad Who will ever want to marry youLittle Sophie of Prussia has been told over and over again by her mother two things that she s ugly, and that it is up to her to marry well so she can rescue them from a life of destitution So when a marriage proposal comes from Empress Elizabeth of Russia on behalf of her son Carl Peter Ulrich, Sophie s mother greedily accepts on her behalf None too pleased with the idea, especially since her last encounter with Peter was an utter disaster, she nevertheless makes the journey from her beloved Prussia to the harsh, unfamiliar and vast Russian Empire, where she is at the mercy of the empress Renamed Catherine and determined to know the ways of the Russian people, Catherine throws herself into her studies For what she hasn t told anyone, not even her future husband, is that she knows for a fact that she will rule Russia She just has to make sure she lives to do it Sniff This is the last Royal Diary novel That sound you hear is my childhood going out the window And while I do admit this was one of the weaker installments in the series, I can t say I hated it Heck, I can t say I hated any of the books in this series If you re interested in getting your youngster interested in history or you re a budding history buff yourself , this series is the perfect place to start Anyhow, back to the book This follows Sophie Catherine in her journey for the crown of Russia Catherine has always been one of my favorites and not just because of the name , so it was super fun to read about her childhood and her determination to meet her goal of ruling all or Russia CharactersDear diary, when I looked in the mirror tonight, I did not see an ugly duckling For the first time ever, my reflection showed a princess who is almost prettyCatherine aka Sophie is her mother s only hope for rising above her station and marrying off so she can get her family our from poverty although to me, they didn t seem particularly poor Catherine was a resourceful character who never let her mother s insults get the better of her She doesn t even let the thought of a dull, loveless marriage prospect faze her Nope, not at all Instead, she throws herself into learning the language, ways and customs of her new homeland Russia, going to far as to make herself sick trying to learn Russian Literally She has her eyes on the prize, and it doesn t include her newly betrothed, Peter She wants the crown, and she wants it bad But instead of making her thoughts known or going after it with brute force, she waits her turn patiently but steadilyTruly, at first sight I thought he was a girl His face was soft and pale, his hair curled to his shouldersCarl Peter is Catherine s cousin betrothed, but it s hardly love at first sight Peter isn t exactly a Studmuffin like a Dullmuffin, to be specific He s a man child who has gone through puberty supposedly, but his brain and hormones never got the memo He and Catherine have a platonic relationship for the entirety of the novel, so a true romance never develops Then again, back then who knows how many true romances develop Peter is interested in playing with his toy soldiers and cussing out Catherine s mother then thinking about ruling the kingdom or learning about it In short I M UNIMPRESSEDThough she is mean and rarely shows affection, she is still my mother She s the only one in this new country who is not a stranger to me I don t know how I would be able to bear her disappointmentCatherine s mother is a piece of work, that s for sure Although I think deep DEEP down and we re talking pretty deep here she loved Catherine, but it s either really hard for her to show it or she has no soul Either way, she treats Catherine like crap most of the time, never failing to take an opportunity to tell her how unattractive she is, and she d better not screw up in making her impressions of else her ass would get whopped Yup, real mother daughter bonding right there She won t be winning any Mother of the Year awards Heck, she can t even get most people to like her anyhow Even Peter doesn t like her Pros It s a Royal Diaries book There s an automatic soft spot for these types of books in my reading life I grew up with this series as well as its companion sister series , so no matter what, I ll always enjoy them And this book was no exception Well, maybe I m just being generous because we both have the same name Not that I d admit it or anything Cons After a while, the entries to the diary kind of got annoying Not the writing style itself, but the headings Yeah, yeah I know it seems like such a silly thing But for some reason, it bugged me For instance, one would say April 18th , then the next one would say Midnight , then Sometime Later WAY too much detail for one day, girl Just make another entry titled another day Love Triangle Nope Instalove Nope A Little RomanceEven though my fianc is an unappealing man child who still plays with dolls, his is my future Without him, I return to Germany, disgraced and a pauper Without him I have no chance of wearing the Russian crownIf you can t tell from the above quote, Catherine doesn t think her husband the Romeo to her Juliet, if you know what I mean He s ugly to her , immature, stubborn and nowhere near ready to become the next leader of Russia But the thought of the crown on her head is appealing to her then finding the next great love of her life, so she takes a pass If it s any consolation to readers though, they do happen to make quite good friends over time Conclusion This is the last installment of The Royal Diaries series, so it was kind of bittersweet reading this It was such a big part of my childhood, reading these books I think I read just about every single one of them I ll always have a soft spot in my heart for these books, no matter how old and decrepit I get You learn so much history, and this is the closest you ll ever get to personally knowing these wonderful women who shaped history While I thought this was one of the weaker books in the series and certainly weak for what is supposed to be the final book of a long running series , I still enjoyed it nonetheless.
When I was a kid, around ten or twelve years old, this was one of my absolute favourite book series I adore books about princesses, real or fictional, and love learning about them There s twenty books in this series, I own eight of them I recently decided to re read some of them, partly for nostalgic reasons, and partly because I m kind of behind in my 100 books goal and would like to shamelessly bring that number up a bit, heh.
This book is about a little German princess who lived in Prussia, who was born as Sophia Her mother is a relentless social climber, a princess herself, but such a minor one that no one really cares about them She always dreams of being related to real royalty When Empress Elisabeth of Russia sends out a request for portraits of young, eligible ladies to be sent to her so she may choose a bride for her heir, the Grand Duke Peter, Sophia and her mother are both shocked and excited that Elisabeth chooses Sophia Thus Sophia makes the great journey from Prussia to Russia, through the snow and cold, to meet her future husband When she meets the Empress, the Empress decides Sophia should be named Catherine instead, after her mother Catherine would later go on to become Catherine the Great.
I thought the book was pretty good It wasn t the most exciting or engaging one I remember the Anastasia and Cleopatra books in this series being very addicting I think the issue is that Catherine s life is much interested after she marries and becomes Empress, than before I know the series focuses on the princesses in their tween teen years, but Catherine just doesn t have that much going during that part of her life, besides the betrothal Still, I do think the book was written pretty good and despite not too much happening in her life The book focuses on Catherine s relationships with her mother, Empress Elisabeth and her betrothed, Peter, which I think is great for laying down the groundwork for those interested in reading about Catherine, because Catherine does have some tense relationships with those people.
This portrayal of Catherine is very easy to like I m not sure how she is usually portrayed this is my first historical fiction involving Catherine the Great From what I know of her from history though, I imagine she would often be portrayed as very ambitious This Catherine in this book does have hints of ambitiousness but the author, whether purposely or not, downplayed a lot of it, or made it sound like a nice girl chasing a dream to be a good empress.
My only real complaint is the ending It was very, very abrupt I was surprised to turn the page and realize that the story was done.
If you don t mind reading juvenile books, I think this one is a pretty good one to try out, especially if you like historical fiction and or have an interest in the Russian empress, Catherine the Great.
I ve finished my nonsensical goal of reading all these books Yay, me Catherine is the last book of the series, ending it on a better note than many of the last installments Bonus points for reading this right after the premiere of the HBO mini series about Catherine The book is interesting but ends abruptly like most of the royal diaries I would have liked to read about what happened to Johanna, Catherine s mother, after she was sent back to Prussia, but otherwise I think the book is a good overview of Catherine s youth.