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Spring 1699: Illegitimate, illiterate and strikingly beautiful, the Baltic serf Marta is sold into household labour at the age of fifteen. She commits a crime that forces her to go on the run. A world away, Russia's young Tsar Peter I, passionate and iron-willed, has a vision for transforming the traditionalist Russia into a modern, Western empire.
Countless lives will be lost in the process, but Marta cheats death at every turn, finding work as a washerwoman at a battle camp where she encounters Peter the Great. But Marta's rise to the top is ridden with peril; how long will she survive the machinations of Peter's court, and more importantly, Peter himself?
Listen in to the prologue of 'Tsarina'! I recorded this clip for the 'Author's Club' who had shortlisted my hot-blooded girl as the best first novel of 2020...
THE TSARINA'S DAUGHTER
'Born into the House of Romanov to the all-powerful Peter the Great and Catherine I, beautiful Tsarevna Elizabeth is the world’s loveliest Princess. She is seemingly born to pursue her passions, even though a dark prophecy predicts otherwise.
When Peter the Great dies without naming his successor, Russia is torn. Masks fall, friends become foes - Elizabeth’s idyllic world is upended. By her twenties, she is penniless and powerless, living under constant threat. As she falls in love and becomes who she is, Elizabeth must decide whether to fight for Russia, which requires the greatest sacrifice of them all.'
Here's a short reading from the prologue of 'The Tsaina's Daughter'. My US publisher taught me an invaluable lesson when saying: 'I want the conflict on page one.'
A Gallery of Beauties
In the past 18 months, both 'Tsarina' and 'The Tsarina's Daughter' have gained many different faces, each cover seizing a different aspect of their extraordinary destinies, which like the Slavic soul combine great opposites with casual ease.
I was born and raised in the Kenyan highlands, where my father worked as a Veterinary Surgeon. My elder brothers attended boarding school, so I dressed up our many pets (cats, dogs, chicken, geese, a stroppy Polo pony, a wounded Serval cat and at times a baby crocodile) and forced them to listen to my stories.
After my very mediocre A-levels I moved to Paris. Upon graduating from the 'Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris', I worked first as a TV-Producer and then as a News-Anchor for Bloomberg TV London, doing gruesome night shifts on breakfast TV. My downstairs neighbour thought I worked as an escort as I cantered down our stairs at any godforsaken hour. I also started to write in earnest, every day, after work, a nap and a run. So much for burning midnight oil.
Today, I work as an author and as a journalist for international publications such as the German 'FAZ', Vogue, Standpoint, and CN Traveller. I live in London with my husband, my three sons, and a moody fox red Labrador-Lady.
'Tsarina' and 'The Tsarina's Daughter' are the first two novels in the 'Tsarina' quartet.