Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Queen of Someday Audio

Queen of Someday Audio

Sherry Ficklin
For ages 12 and up
Unabridged audiobook (Digital)
Performed/read by: Elan O’ Connor
Audible, 2014 

Princess Sophia of Anhlat-Zerbst would love to be able to continue living quietly in the house that she grew up in, but her mother, Johanna of Holstein-Gottorp, has big plans for her. Married off to a man who lacked the wealth and power Johanna felt she deserved, she has hopes that through Sophia’s marriage she will finally get what is her right. King Frederick II of Prussia would love to see Sophia sitting of the throne of Russia and has been pushing for Sophia to become a potential bride for Prince Peter, the nephew of Empress Elizabeth of Russia. It would seem that Elizabeth is also in favor of such an alliance, and so Sophia and her mother are making the long journey, in winter, to St. Petersburg.

Before they can reach their destination, Sophia’s travel party is attacked by bandits. Thankfully Sophia is a practical girl who knows how to wield a sword and she is handily frightening off the attackers when an envoy from the Empress, Sergei Salkov, arrives. Sergei accompanies the Princess for the rest of her journey and then helps her to settle in when they arrive at the Winter Palace.

Sophia quickly realizes that she is going to have to work hard to win the prince’s heart. He is a mercurial young man who likes to play games, and if she seems too eager he will not be that interested in her. Acting on the advice of one of Peter’s friends, Alexander Mananov, Sophia does not chase after Peter. Instead, she lets him pursue her and the tactic works very well. The Empress is pleased with Sophia and is well disposed to choose her to be Peter’s bride, but there are some in the court who would like Russia to ally herself with Austria. In fact they are so opposed to Sophia becoming Peter’s wife that they poison her.

The assassins do not count on Sophia being a fighter, but she is, and by some miracle she survives. The empress is now convinced that Sophia is the right wife for her nephew, Prince Peter, and the marriage seems assured. Then while she is convalescing, Sophia and Alexander begin to form a friendship, which, over time, turns into a deep love. Now, Sophia’s plans for her future suddenly become unsure once more. If she marries Peter, her father will not lose his home and he will be a wealthy man. His future will be assured, but she will be tied to a man who, it is becoming increasingly clear, is not mentally stable.

If Sophia marries Alexander instead, she will have a husband whom she loves and respects, but she will not be able to help her father, and she will also surely be on the receiving end of the Empress’s anger, which is not to be taken lightly.

In this wonderfully told story we meet a young woman who is put in a dreadful position. She can either to do what is best for her family and sacrifice her own happiness, or she can follow her heart and suffer the consequences. Based loosely on the life of the young woman who would one day be Catherine the Great of Russia, this audio title will give listeners a picture of what it was like to be a royal in Europe in the 1700’s.