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


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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 (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #228,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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

More About the Author

Kristiana Gregory grew up in Manhattan Beach, California, two blocks from the ocean. She's always loved to make up stories [ask her family!], telling her younger siblings whoppers that would leave them wide-eyed and shivering. Her first rejection letter at age eleven was for a poem she wrote in class when she was supposed to be doing a math assignment. She's had a myriad of odd jobs: telephone operator, lifeguard, camp counselor, reporter, book reviewer & columnist for the LA Times, and finally author.

Her most recent work is her memoir, BLUE SKIES: ONE AUTHOR'S JOURNEY.

Kristiana's award-winning novels include STALKED, which earned the 2012 Gold Medal for Young Adult Mystery from Literary Classics and is hailed as "historical fiction with a thrilling twist." KIRKUS calls it "an atmospheric confection that will thrill YA readers ... Gregory achieves a realistic, rich atmosphere with insightful details about the immigration process and New York tenements in the early 1900s." Now available on Kindle and in paperback.

JENNY OF THE TETONS [Harcourt] won the Golden Kite Award in 1989 and was the first of two-dozen historical novels for middle grade readers. Several of Kristiana's titles are now available on Kindle including "Curiously Odd Stories: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2" with the celebrated 'Paper Monument', a futuristic book-banning with horrific consequences.

BRONTE'S BOOK CLUB [Holiday House] is set in a town by the sea and is inspired by the girls' book club Kristiana led for several years.

Her most recent title with Scholastic's Dear America series is CANNONS AT DAWN, a sequel to the best-selling THE WINTER OF RED SNOW, which was made into a movie for the HBO Family Channel.

New re-releases in ebooks and paperback on Amazon:
**PRAIRIE RIVER SERIES #1-4
**ORPHAN RUNAWAYS: THE PERILOUS ESCAPE TO BODIE
**CABIN CREEK MYSTERIES #7: THE PHANTOM OF HIDDEN HORSE RANCH
**THE WAITING LIGHT: CLEMENTINE'S STORY -- originally titled "My Darlin' Clementine" [Holiday House] this riveting historical mystery takes place in an Idaho mining camp of 1866, and was Idaho's representative for the 2010 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Library of Congress.

Kristiana and her husband have two adult sons, and live in Idaho with their two golden retrievers. In her spare time she loves to swim, walk, hike, read, and hang out with friends.

Check out Kristiana's blogs at http://notesfromthesunroom.blogspot.com/ for behind-the-scenes stories about her books, and with photos from her childhood.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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The Royal Diaries are all good reads!
Whisper
Her story is not a happy one, yet it teaches readers about true history and what happened in Russia during this time period.
Jennifer Dieleman
Looking forward to ordering books in the series for my daughter.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Herman HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 21, 2006
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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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Erika Sorocco on January 6, 2006
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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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Toni Masters on February 3, 2006
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 Verified Purchase
I ordered this book from Big Hearted Books. It arrived on time and was great quality. I was very satisfied.
Also, I greatly enjoye reading the book. I only have three complaints: 1) it was very detailed through the first 3/4 of the book. After that, the entries become more sparse and far less detailed. It makes the ending somewhat ambiguous and disappointing; 2) the majority of the entries are not dated, which makes determining the time that has elapsed, and keeping up with the actu historical record, difficult; 3) the afterword with the information about Catherine the Great and her life is extremely basic, giving really no other information about her that the other books in the series normally give. Overall, 5/5 stars for order from the company; 3.5/5 stars for the actual book. However, I definitely recommend it, as Catherine the Great is a wonderful and very intriguing woman. :-)
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