Since this book is 575 pages long, it will be a while before I actually finish it but I plan to give updates on the book as I read it. I am now on page 80 and have decided that it is much nicer to live now as an ordinary person than it was 250 years ago as an empress. For one thing, people got sick and died early and often. Another is that as an heir to the throne, you'd better watch your back--literally. Marriages among nobility were arranged for political advantage and to heck with love and affection.
As of page 80, Catherine (born Sophia) has been called to Russia by the Empress Elizabeth to marry Elizabeth's nephew Peter. That Peter had some physical and emotional issues is at best an understatement (but given his early childhood, quite understandable). The wedding has taken place amid spectacular finery but the marriage is an unconsummated dud. That's where I left off and we will pick it up again in another 100 or so pages.