Saturday, 19 December 2015

Queen of Always by Sherry D Ficklin

Title: Queen of Always
Series: Stolen Empire (#3)
Author: Sherry D Ficklin
From: Amazon
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: 23rd November 2015
Challenges: 2015 New Release Challenge, 2015 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (12 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Catherine can no longer claim to be the same woman as the young and innocent Sophie who arrived at Court. She has matured into someone able to hold her own and someone who is determined to protect herself and her son's legacy. With her steadfast lover Sergei, and her first love, Alexander, at her side, she starts to contemplate doing the one thing that would keep her secure, no matter how wrong it could be...

The end. Oh my goodness. This isn't a traditional happy ending, in fact I'd say it was actually kind of sad at the end. But it was perfect. It summed up Catherine's transformation from Sophie to Catherine the Great perfectly and showed her to become the powerful woman that history knows she is. I still felt bad for poor Catherine, but ultimately it was the right ending. The letter at the end was a good touch, and it was very very moving.

The Catherine that was being moulded in the previous book, Queen of Tomorrow, was very much in force here. She was a much more confident character and that showed in this book. She still felt like the same person at heart but she had become who she needed to be. In fact it's amazing she managed to keep so much of her humanity considering what happened.

The men in her life took on a big role in this book. Sergei always has, but in this book the truth about Peter (her husband) truely came out, and I felt horrified at his behaviour in some instances. Alexander came back with a force, and the competition between him and Sergei created tension that Catherine somehow managed to solve in a way I did not expect from a book pegged as YA (though nothing is explicitly described, there are definitely more than a few hints!)

I loved the politics in this series, it is what has made it for me. That as well as the fact that it has had the growth of a strong female character. It's a brilliant series and definitely one I would recommend.