Catherine: The Volga Flows Forever, Book One
By Sigrid Weidenweber
Center for Volga German Studies, Concordia University Library, Portland, Oregon, 2008, 423 pages, hardcover.
The Volga Germans: The Volga Flows Forever, Book Two
From Gulag to Freedom: The Volga Flows Forever, Book Three
"You look astonishingly pretty," admits Johanna when Sophia steps out of her bedroom dressed in Ulrika’s magnificent gown. Sophia is stunned, halting in mid-step. This is rare praise from her cold mother, so she must, indeed, look very good. At Frederick’s side during the elaborate court dinner, Sophia shines and sparkles with youth and wit. The monarch is very pleased with his choice. Indeed, he is so enamored with the girl that he opens his purse to outfit mother and daughter, both woefully deficient in material matters appropriate for court life.
So begins the transformation of Princess Sophia of Anhalt-Zerbst into Catherine the Great of Russia. The personal and professional triumphs and tribulations of this remarkable woman are retold by Sigrid Weidenweber, whose research into the life of Catherine reveals a new perspective on Catherine, from the inside out. Sigrid portrays with heartfelt understanding, what it was like to have been such a major European political and military, social and cultural figure during the eighteenth century.
Catherine is the first volume in a trilogy entitled "The Volga Flows Forever." The second volume, The Volga Germans, is scheduled for release on December 1, 2008. It follows Vadim and Svetlana to the German colonies along the lower Volga and into the lives of the Meininger family and their friends, who have settled in Norka and later move to Schaffhausen. In the third volume, From Gulag to Freedom scheduled for release in April 2009, Sigrid weaves her story through the hardships of collectivization and deportation during the Soviet years to finally bring young Katharina to join the Volga Germans who had earlier immigrated to the San Joaquin Valley of Central California.
About the Author
Born in Germany in 1941, Sigrid Weidenweber remembers firsthand the horrific aftermath of fascism. At the end of the war, she found herself living under communism. Both of these totalitarian regimes left indelible marks on her psyche. After the Berlin Wall was built, she finally escaped this repressive environment with the help of friends and a French passport. Sigrid holds degrees in medical technology and psychology. Her first book, Escaping the Twilight, deals with aspects of medical anthropology in an Islamic culture. Her wide range of interests led to the writing of the trilogy, The Volga Flows Forever. In this first volume, Catherine, she brings to life a fascinating historical character. She has been married 44 years, has two children and two adorable grandsons. They live on a mountaintop outside Portland, Oregon, with a panoramic view of the Cascades.
Comments about the book:
"Sigrid Weidenweber has carefully researched the history of the times, and presented it so colorfully that one would think she was an eyewitness to all the intrigue at the Russian court in the 18th century. It's excellent, engrossing reading!"
– Paul L. Maier
Western Michigan University
"… a splendid fictional, yet historical romp through the fragile crystal of the eighteenth century."
– Dona Reeves-Marquardt
Texas State University
"With great skill and passion Sigrid Weidenweber unveils an epic and important historical journey, bringing to life the danger, violence, and intrigue of European royalty through the eyes of one of its most prominent and fascinating members."
– Tim Green
New York Times Bestselling Fiction Author
"The more one reads, the more impressive the research, delightful the rich detail, and engaging this drama of the loves, lure and limitations of power of the Enlightened Empress Catherine – from a distinctively woman's perspective!"
– Hans Spalteholz
Concordia University – Portland
"Great nations become great because of great people. Sigrid has combined her research and writing skills to trace the story of one of Russia’s great leaders. Catherine is superb reading about an exciting monarch who changed the course of European history – a real 'page turner'!"
– John Van Diest
Founder, Multnomah Press
Associate Publisher, Tyndale House Publishers
"The author’s successful allusions to Catherine’s sexual escapades are tastefully and appealingly depicted …"
– LaVern J. Rippley
Saint Olaf College