Book Review: Queen of Someday by Sherry D. Ficklin

Queen of Someday
Stolen Empire #1
Sherry D. Ficklin
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
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?
ARC provided by NetGalley

I have always focused my interest in Russia on Tsar Nicholas II and his family and their fate during the Bolshevik Revolution. You could blame the animated movie, Anastasia, for this, for nothing could impress a child more than the tale of a lost princess. When I got older, I found myself knowing the real fate of the Romanovs but didn't quell my fascination for them; in fact, it only heightened my curiosity and expanded my reading backwards in history, through the Romanovs' ancestors and their familial connections through Europe. 

Did I mention I love history? Perhaps I did. More than once or I wouldn't have endured my history classes (although I spaced out sometimes) and read historical fiction.

And that was why I picked Queen of Someday because it's about Russia and, more importantly, it's about a princess.

I confess I allowed my romantic self to paint a rather romanticized version of Sophie, the future Catherine the Great, expecting for her to have a happy story among the vapid, rabid jaws of the political machinations of Imperial Russia. Even to have her eventual husband be in love with her, as her with him - just like what I had with the heroine of The Katerina Trilogy by Robin Bridges.

I was wrong. And I commend the author for that.

No matter how much I wished for everything to be all right with the heroine (as we readers sometimes, if not always, see ourselves in her), I knew that hers will not be as sweet as the early dewdrops of spring. She was, after all, going to be queen someday and it was Russia. Sherry D. Ficklin painted the story of a young Sophie as one of hope and future happiness but Sophie's lot, as a princess whose on shoulders rested the security and happiness of others, would not be all sunshine and daisies. Yet despite her heartache, she continued and marched on and at the end, she was at the cusp of the beginning of being the Great, her moniker. What did I expect? Catherine the Great was suspected of having led the conspiracy against her husband, Peter III, which resulted in his assassination; that spoke of a formidable woman.

It still broke my heart, for her. She could not have her first love but to lay with another and discovered and given in to her feelings for him? That was quite sudden and an act of someone desperate. Well, she was desperate. Still...
Ayanami Faerudo

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