This is going to be a different post than what I usually do. I requested The Hollow Queen by Sherry D. Ficklin on NetGalley, not realizing that it was the fifth book in this series. I attempted reading it, and just felt kind of lost. I do think that you could push yourself through and read the books as standalone’s, because I believe they’re completed stories. It obviously just helps to have read the series in order, because past events are briefly alluded to. It’s the benefit of knowledge.
Besides the cover, the fact that The Hollow Queen is about a Romanov Princess, kind of sealed the deal for me. I’m a sucker for anything Romanov inspired and wanted to give this a try. I just wish I had known beforehand that it wasn’t the first book.
From what I did read of The Hollow Queen, I really enjoyed.! Enjoyed it enough to go get the first book in the series! Luckily for me, it was randomly free on Kindle the day I went to purchase. Now, I definitely didn’t read enough of the book to really get to know the characters, but it starts with the physical stripping of the MC’s (the Romanov Princess) status. The book didn’t feel too heavy, a historical fantasy romance with court intrigue and drama.
Since I didn’t feel comfortable finishing the book due to feeling like I didn’t have enough backstory, I wanted to do a little spotlight post on this series – instead of a review. While I’m bummed, I won’t be reading The Hollow Queen anytime soon, I am glad, however, that NetGalley introduced me to these books and this author. I can’t wait to dive in.
So really quick, here are the five books in order and their synopses!
ONE GIRL WILL BRING AN EMPIRE TO ITS KNEES…
Before she can become the greatest empress in history, fifteen-year-old Sophie will have to survive her social-climbing mother’s quest to put her on the throne of Russia—at any cost.
Imperial Court holds dangers like nothing Sophie has ever faced before. In the heart of St. Petersburg, surviving means navigating the political, romantic, and religious demands of the bitter Empress Elizabeth and her handsome, but sadistic nephew, Peter. Determined to save her impoverished family—and herself—Sophie vows to do whatever is necessary to thrive in her new surroundings. But an attempt on her life and an unexpected attraction threatens to derail her plans.
Alone in a new and dangerous world, learning who to trust and who to charm may mean the difference between becoming queen and being sent home in shame to marry her lecherous uncle. With traitors and murderers lurking around every corner, her very life hangs in the balance. Betrothed to one man but falling in love with another, Sophie will need to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to become the empress she is destined to be.
In a battle for the soul of a nation, will love or destiny reign supreme.
Sophie—now Catherine, Grand Duchess of Russia—had a tough first year at Imperial Court. Married at sixteen to Grand Duke Peter, heir to the throne, and settled in their own palace, things are finally looking up. As a new day dawns, she thinks only of securing her future, and the future of their country, during one of the greatest political upheavals of her time. Fighting desperately against forces trying to depose the Empress Elizabeth and put the young Prince Ivan on her throne, Sophie soon finds herself in the middle of a war brewing between her beloved Prussia, and her new empire. But even as she navigates the fragile political landscape, she quickly realizes that she has only begun to discover the tangled web of deceit and infidelity woven over the lavish court of Oranienbaum Palace.
When a strange and delicate alliance forms between the young couple, she glimpses a future of happiness, only to see it lost in a moment at the hands of those who still seek to end her life—and prevent her reign. Out of favor with the empress and running out of options, Sophie will have to sacrifice her own innocence on the altar of Russia if she is to save the nation, and herself. To survive, she will have to do the unthinkable, betray those closest to her and become something greater and more dangerous than she ever imagined she could be… a queen.
LONG LIVE THE QUEEN
If her time at court has taught Catherine anything, it’s that there is no room for weakness in Imperial Russia. With the Empress’ health failing and rumors of a change in the line of succession, her place in the royal line is once more in jeopardy. Tormented by her sadistic husband and his venomous mistress, Catherine must once more walk the fine line between pleasure and politics—between scandal and survival.
When her young son becomes the target of those rebelling against Peter’s reign, Catherine will have to rise up to protect herself, her child, and her nation from his unstable and potentially catastrophic rule. This means putting herself at odds with the most dangerous man she’s ever known, trusting those who once proved to be her enemies, and turning a nation against its sovereign. In the ultimate battle for the crown, new alliances will be forged, loyalties will be tested, and blood will be shed.
Far from the shores of England another Elizabeth was born to rule a nation…
The daughter of Peter the Great, Elizabeth was a princess by birth, and a warrior by blood. Never content to be a pawn in the game of men, Elizabeth was destined to sit upon a throne. But when her father’s sudden death leaves her mother and sister at the mercy of the scheming Privy Council, she will have to abandon her beloved Russia in order to survive.
This is not a fairy tale.
And Elizabeth is not your average princess.
She is a Romanov—one of the women in a line of powerful female rulers who will change the face of Russia forever.
*The Winter Queen is a prequel short story in the Stolen Empire series and is the first in a set of novels featuring young Elizabeth of Russia.*
As a princess of the Romanov Empire, Elizabeth has enjoyed a life of luxury and privilege. But the sudden deaths of her parents leaves her unprotected – awash in the dangerous tide of her family’s political rivals. When the supreme council crowns her half-nephew Peter II in her place, Elizabeth is left with no title, no power—and no allies. Now little more than a bastard in the eyes of the world, she is sent to serve in the palatial home of Prince Menshikov—the real power behind the boy king.
But Elizabeth won’t fade quietly into the background.
Determined to uncover the truth behind her mother’s murder and expose the men who mean to rule Russia in secret, she grows closer to the handsome young king, and swears to protect him and his rule at any cost. But the forces that oppose them are as dark as they are far-reaching–and this time, Elizabeth could lose more than just her title…
Let me know in the comments if you could pick a historical figure – royalty or otherwise – who would you want to be featured in a Historical Romance Series (or any other genre)?