From School Library Journal
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Gr 4-7This novel is written from the viewpoint of Princess Sophie Augusta Fredericka of Anhalt-Zerbst, who later became Catherine the Great. The diary opens with an entry dated August 7, 1743, when Sophie is 14. Her mother obsesses over marrying her into a prestigious family. When the studious and rather plain-looking teen has an opportunity to marry Peter, Grand Duke of Russia, she must face the scrutiny of critical Empress Elizabeth. In her diary,” Sophie talks about her home situation and recounts the hardships of travel to Russia, her efforts to please the empress, and her engagement. Gregory's strong characterizations bring the historically grounded figures to life. Events convey the difficulties of Russian life during 1743-1745. At first slow moving, the plot picks up speed when Sophie meets the empress. The diary concludes with her impending wedding. Supplementary materials include a family tree, black-and-white reprints of painted portraits of Catherine and family, a map of Prussia and Russia from 1744, and the author's commentary on her use of primary sources.Lynn K. Vanca, Akron-Summit County Public Library, Richfield, OH