Born in 1657, Sophia Alexeyevna Romanov was the Tsar?s daughter, a tsarevna expected to wither away in glittering seclusion among her useless sisters and aunts. Instead, she became the first woman to rule Mother Russia.
Seventeenth-century Russia was a time of bloody turbulence and brutal conflict. When the sudden death of Tsar Alexis I left the Russian Empire bereft of strong male leadership, Sophia was cast into the breach as Regent. She governed with competent zest, aided by her urbane and brilliant Prime Minister, Prince Vasily Golitsyn, with whom she had a passionate love affair.
Wary and cautious, she protected the imperial throne as her young brother matured into his destiny as Tsar Peter the Great. Even as a boy, his titanic energy and enthusiasm foreshadowed his coming reign. Yet Sophia struggled to maintain her balance in loving this delightful child and realizing the harsh truth: once he became tsar, her rule would end.
Set against the colorful, violent backdrop of Russia, Tsarevna is not only the story of an extraordinary woman in extraordinary circumstances, but a commentary on the sobering reality faced by any woman battling to empower herself in a world seeking to keep her captive.
- Trafford, December 2010
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