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Catherine, The Great Journey: Russia, 1743 (The Royal Diaries) Paperback – July 17, 2016
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About the Author
Kristiana Gregory has published more than 30 children's books with Scholastic, Harcourt and Holiday House, and has now ventured into self-publishing with her memoir "Longhand: The Rise and Fall and Rise of My Career a Children's Book Author." She grew up in Manhattan Beach, California, two blocks from the beach and she always loved to make up stories. 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. Kristiana and her husband live in Idaho with their golden retriever, Poppy. Their two adult sons visit often. In her spare time she loves to swim, hike, watch clouds, do yoga, read & hang out with friends. For all her titles, please visit her website: www.kristianagregory.com
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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. :-)
Here is another wonderful Royal Diary addition. Catherine the Great is of interest to me, having read Henri Troyat's superb rendition of her life and reign. This novel, fictionally 'written' by Catherine, follows Troyat's own work closely and is remarkably consistent with the facts of Catherine's early life, and with the tone of Catherine's personality and style.
This book would be highly approachable for children and adults of all ages. The historical accuracy is superb and provides a valuable insight into the early life of Catherine, while being rich and personal enough to compel more than a historical interest from the reader. The author, Gregory, touches on the most salient points of Catherine's journey into Russia to meet the Empress and to become betrothed to the crown prince. Catherine touches on the bitter cold and the hardships of travel, and describes her own serious illness which endeared her so strikingly to the Russian people - it was widely believed that her illness was caused by her ceaseless studies to learn the language and customs of her chosen people.
While I usually list the potential concerns a parent may have with the Royal Diary in question, there is not too much here to be concerned about - no wars, violence, or wounded in these pages. The crown prince's cruelty and madness which surfaced later in life is suppressed here, probably for the best. Catherine's mother, however, is remarkably cruel and harsh to her daughter, which might disturb very young readers. Also, the Empress' odd custom of enforcing cross-dressing balls (where the men dress in ladies' clothes and the women dress in mens' clothes) is noted briefly here - historically accurate, but potentially confusing for a very young reader. The incident is dealt with quickly and carefully, however, and should not be a deterrent to an older reader.
~ Ana Mardoll