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The Imperial Wife

by Irina Reyn

The Imperial Wife by Irina Reyn X
The Imperial Wife by Irina Reyn
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There are currently 19 member reviews
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  • Cassandra E. (Fort Myers, FL)
    The Imperial Wife
    Fantastic book that goes from current time to Catherine the Great and her life in Russia. The Russian Art Community is all excited on the soon sale at auction of Catherine the Great Holy Order. It follows the Russian art specialist life and Catherine's life. I didn't realize the auction houses were so cut throat. And life in Russia was very cut throat. So the comparisons were very informative. Great Book.
  • Anne C. (Herndon, VA)
    A Contrast between Two Wives
    The author describes the courses of two marriages, one in old Imperial Russia, and one in modern day New York City. I found the story of modern day Tanya, the art expert who must balance the demands of her wealthy clients with the sorrow of seeing her marriage fall apart, to be especially interesting. She has worked so hard to achieve a high position in her field, but finds that her husband's love is becoming a casualty of that success.

    The other wife is the very young Princess Sophia in the early 1700's, who will marry into the royal family of Russia and become Catherine the Great. She has to become a very strong personality to survive the intrigues of the court and a loveless marriage to the heir to the throne.

    I think either of the narratives could have been a novel in itself, but the contrast between two main characters and two periods of time has been a popular fiction type for a while, and this book is an excellent example of that technique. It would be a good choice for a book club to read and discuss.
  • Carol S. (Vienna, VA)
    Russian Art World
    I obtained this book from Bookbrowse to review, and I am happy I did. The Imperial Wife, by Irina Reyn is the second book I've read this summer relating to the market for Russian art and artifacts. It is by far the better one and a good choice for a book club.

    The book views life from the perspective of a current day Russian art specialist, an immigrant to the US, and a 1700s Sophia Frederika Augusta, immigrating to Russia to become part of the royal family. The parallels are fascinating. The book deals with marriage and family, and the irresistible impulse to acquire what we desire, be it money, people or art works. The book explores the life of immigrants, a very hot topic in the country right now. The writing is crisp and literary. It was a pleasure to read..
  • Pamela F. (Sun City West, AZ)
    Learning about Russian History
    I have to say, there are two distinct stories here and yet both women are ambitious. I learned more about Russian History with Catherine the Great and more about Auction Houses with Tanya. Both are interesting and therefore, the 4 stars. I didn't know much about auction this was a new territory for me. I always love Russian this was intriguing as well. Book clubs will love this book because there is so much fodder for discussion!
  • Arlene M. (White Oak, PA)
    The Imperial Wife
    There are many women in the world who are more male than female. Irina Reyn created one -Tanya Vandermotter and the Russian Empire created another - Catherine the Great. The story's chapters switch back and forth between Catherine and Tanya.

    The thing that brings them together over the centuries is a beautiful pendant called the Order of St. Catherine.

    Tanya, a Jewish-Russian émigré works in the Russian art department of Worthington's Auction House. She tries to get an oligarch to bid on the pendant but before this can take place it has to be authenticated.

    I learned a lot about the auction world and enjoyed the descriptions of the New York neighborhoods.
  • Mary B. (Laguna Woods, CA)
    Russian history & current events
    I liked the story of young Catherine the Great within the story of Tanya, a Russian Jewish immigrant to the US. The details of the current Russian oligarchs & their wild lifestyles was very interesting. I would have like to have Catherine fleshed out a bit more. The story skimmed over her early years in Russia. Tanya's life as the auction house's Russian Art expert was fascinating.
  • Sue Z. (Cornelius, NC)
    The Imperial Wife
    Two strong Russian women, both ruthlessly ambitious and separated by many centuries, are connected by a fabulous jewel. Catherine the Great owned it and Tanya is tasked by the present day auction house for which she works, to sell it to the highest bidder. The women's story is told in alternating chapters, describing how both are married to weak and dissolute men. In Catherine's case she is able to overcome this impediment, but Tanya's obsession with her husband will lead to disaster. The characters in this book are very believable and the story moves along along at a brisk pace. A good summer read
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