Showing posts from January, 2012

Book Review: Catherine The Great, Portrait Of A Woman by Robert K. Massie

Catherine was born Sophia Augusta Fredericka on April 21, 1729. Her parents were Prince Christian Augustus of Anhalt-Zerbst and Johanna Elizabeth of Holstein-Gottorp. Their principalities were apart of Germany. Christian and Johanna were not of high noble families. Christian was a professional soldier. He waited to marry until he was 37. His bride was 15. Their marriage was poorly matched. He was older, mature, settled, reserved, disciplined. He was not interested in gossip, or an extravagant lifestyle. His bride was the reverse of his temperament and beliefs. Sophia was their first child. Eighteen months later they had a son, and then much later another son and daughter. Sophia grew up in a home where she was pushed aside, because of her mothers adoration of her brother eighteen months younger than her. Yet, Sophia was lovely and had a bright and quick mind. When Sophia was fourteen she and her mother were summoned by Empress Elizabeth of Russia. Sophia's mother instinctively kn…

Book Review: All Our Worldly Goods by Irene Nemirovsky

"People draw strength from adversity and the greater the struggle, the stronger they grow...She was engulfed by the profound darkness of war, a darkness from which it seemed there would be no escape, a war that would last until the end of time itself."

All Our Worldly Goods begins in 1910 with Agnes and Pierre very much in love, but Pierre is engaged to marry Simone. His parents are pleased with his betrothed, his grandfather the stoic and controlling Julien Hardelot is pleased with Pierre's betrothed, but Pierre is not. Pierre only sees in Simone a fleshly, plump, red-haired young woman. Simone, "made him feel nauseous, like a meal that is too heavy, too sweet. Nevertheless, they were engaged." When Agnes and Pierre finally express their love to each other and that they wish to risk it all in order to marry, their families are shocked and angry. Simone is devastated by the quick break-off. The book follows Agnes and Pierre showing the troubles brought on by pa…