Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten: Review and Excerpt

Tsarina covers the life of Tsarina Catherine, the second wife of Peter the Great. There are many factors that make her life interesting, but the first and foremost is that she was born into abject poverty in the rural Baltics.

The blurb suggests that Catherine is faced with a great responsibility upon her husband’s death. While this is certainly true, very little of the book is devoted to Catherine’s ascension to power as the first woman to rule Russia in her own right. Rather, this is more of a “record scratch—freeze frame—you’re probably wondering how I got here” narrative, in which we examine the events that led up to Catherine scrambling to cover up her husband’s death until her position is more secure.

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The Revolutionary and the Rogue by Blake Ferre

Perrin and Henri are on opposite sides of the Reign of Terror. Perrin is an aristo and a member of a secret organization working against the government. Henri works for the government, and his reasons for hating aristos are more than political.  

They have every reason to hate each other, and at first, that’s exactly what happens. But Henri is convinced that Perrin is up to no good (true) and follows him at every opportunity. As the narrative progresses, their lives become more intertwined and the line between the dual games of cat-and-mouse and seduction blurs.

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Kidnapped by the Pirate by Keira Andrews

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Kidnapped by the Pirate was written by Keira Andrews. I found this m/m historical romance novel on Kindle Unlimited.

Nathaniel Bainbridge is sailing from England to the Caribbean, where will reunite with his father, the governor of a small island, and marry the woman his father has chosen for him. Nathaniel is not particularly excited about this, but things take a turn for the worse when their ship is intercepted by a band of pirates who harbor (pardon the pun) a personal grudge against Governor Bainbridge. They kidnap Nathaniel with the intention of holding him for ransom as revenge against the man who wronged him.

The captain, a man named Hawk, insists upon keeping Nathaniel locked in the captain’s quarters to protect him from the crew. At first, Hawk has nothing but contempt for Nathaniel, who he sees as pampered and useless. Likewise, Nathaniel is afraid of Hawk. But slowly, something begins to develop between the two men- despite their age difference, despite their different upbringings, despite everything against them. This is all fine and pleasant, but can they sustain what they have cultivated, especially since the crew expects Hawk to kill Nathaniel if Bainbridge refuses to pay the ransom? Read more

The Unbinding of Mary Reade by Miriam McNamara

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The Unbinding of Mary Reade is a young adult novel written by Miriam McNamara. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because I love historical fiction; I don’t read as much Georgian fiction as Regency, but its still an era that I enjoy. In addition to one of my favorite settings, the premise sounded fascinating.

Circumstance has forced Mary Reade to live as a boy named Mark for almost her entire life. As the story begins, Mary’s ship has been attacked by pirates. She chooses to align herself with the pirates, mostly because she sees a girl pirate and imagines being able to go through life as who she is, not who she has to present herself as. Read more