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Catherine: The Great Journey, Russia, 1743 (The Royal Diaries) Hardcover – December 1, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7 This 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
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Review

SLJ

Gr 4-7–This 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
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 870L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic; Some Highlighting on Bep edition (December 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439253853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439253857
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #234,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It is 1743, and fourteen-year-old Sophie is a princess of Anhalt-Zerbst in Prussia. Sophie's father is not royalty, and her cruel mother, Princess Johanna Elizabeth, is obsessed with improving her own status through her daughter's marriage. To that end, she is determined to do everything possible in order to get Sophie chosen by Empress Elizabeth of Russia to marry her nephew Peter, heir to the throne. Soon, Sophie and her mother must travel to Russia in order to meet Empress Elizabeth. Sophie is indeed chosen to be Peter's wife, but her life changes completely as a result. She must adopt a new language, religion, and even a new name, Catherine.

I've enjoyed reading The Royal Diaries books for many years, and I was sad to see this would be the final book in the series. However, I was glad to see it would be written by one of my favorite authors from the series, Kristiana Gregory. I enjoyed this book a lot, but I do wish it had been longer and had more detail. I would still recommend this book to all fans of the series.
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Format: Hardcover
The year is 1743, and 14-year-old Prussian Princess Sophie Augusta Fredericka of Anhalt-Zerbst - better known as Catherine the Great - is living an above poverty-stricken life with her family - which includes both a verbally and physically abusive mother - when Sophie is accosted by people from the Russian court, and looked over to see if she will be the "right" wife for Peter - the grandson of Peter the Great - who happens to be the heir to the Russian throne. When it is decided that she may be satisfactory, Sophie is swept off to Russia to meet Empress Elizabeth, who chooses Sophie to be Peter's wife, and changes her name to Catherine. Within just a matter of time, Sophie is forced to change her religion, and the language she speaks in an attempt to please Empress Elizabeth. But as the months wear on, Catherine feels as if her "true" world is moving farther and farther away from her, and there is no one in Russia who can ease her homesickness.

I've always been interested in the history of Russia, even more so since reading the ROYAL DIARIES book ANASTASIA: THE LAST GRAND DUCHESS by Carolyn Meyer, which is why I was quite eager to get my hands on Kristiana Gregory's CATHERINE: THE GREAT JOURNEY. Catherine is an interesting historical figure, whose somewhat tragic and torturous life make readers sympathize with her. Gregory's descriptions of Empress Elizabeth are quite delightful, and truly make the reader fear her wrath. Gregory has tapped the inner Catherine, and come up with quite an enjoyable piece of historical fiction.

Erika Sorocco

Book Review Columnist for The Community Bugle Newspaper
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Format: Hardcover
Sophie is a 14 year old princess and lives her simple life in Zerbst, Prussia. She is constantly under the burdern of her abusive mother who not only damages her emotionally but physically too. Sophie's father doesn't carry royal blood and her desperate mother is a princess from a small royal family. Sophie's damaged personality is torn adn torn each day as her mother insults her and continuously presses her to marry princes so that her family will be related to 'real' royalty.

So one day, after many portraits of herself have been taken to various royalties abroad, Sophie is in shock when she finds that she had been chosen by the Empress of Russia- Elizabeth, to marry her nephew and become duchess and maybe one day queen of all Russia. Leaving her beloved family behind, Sophie and her mother leave to Moscow, unaware of the terrible journey across the ice-lands they would have to take.

But when they finally reach the city of snow- Moscow, Sophie realises that Elizabeth is dangerous and is in even more shock when her own mother plots against her. Sophie will have to hold her scheming mother and her tearing-apart life together, before both split. For Sophie, many things change: her language, her religion and most of all her name which is changed from Sophie to Catherine.

In this beautiful finale to the Royal Diary Series, Kristiana Greggory portrays Princess Catherine of Russia in her teenage years. When she had to leave her home-land to a place of hope and watch her whole life fall apart. I have loved nearly every book in this beautiful series and I farewell the Royal Diarys hoping the best for it's writers. All around the world, children's hearts have already been changed by the diarys of: Elizabeth I, Cleopatra VII, Isabel, Anastasia, Nzingha, Kaiulani, Victoria, Sondok, Jahanara, Eleanor, Kristina, Elisabeth, Kazunomiya, Green Jay, Redbird, Anacaona, Weetamoo, Marie-Anotinette, Mary of Scotts, Anacaona and Catherine. A beautiful story.
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Format: Hardcover
Every book in the Royal Diaries series is wonderful. Much like their counterpart Dear America, the Royal Diaries present history as told by young women recording the events in their diaries. The major difference here is that each Royal Diary is based on a real royal or noble woman whose story is in itself history. As a girl, I loved these books because they allowed me a glimpse into these amazing, lavish lives and fascinating customs that were so different from what I was used to, but at the same time showed me that the thoughts and feelings of these famous, powerful young women were very much like my own. To think that a girl who became queen was really just a normal person in an extraordinary circumstance!

What I love most about Catherine's diary is the fierceness Gregory (a frequent and brilliant writer in the series) emphasizes throughout. You get a real sense of Catherine the Great as a confident young princess who was so clearly destined to be a powerful and inspiring leader. I'm sad to see this series come to a close - girls like Catharine taught me to believe in myself, to be strong and to face life with courage. Grab these books while they're still in print and give the gift of confidence and curiosity to a special young lady in your life!
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