It’s late afternoon on Sunday, and this weekend has been super busy. I had an in-store event yesterday afternoon at Coles in Conestoga Mall for my one school library, an event for which I had spent quite a bit of time baking on Thursday night and Friday morning. This store has adopted my school for the Indigo Adopt-a-School Program (https://adoptaschool.indigo.ca/eng/schools/1589) and we are busy raising funds to buy new books for the library.
Because of all this baking and fundraising, I have not yet finished my book club book for tomorrow night’s meeting, and I’m not confident I’ll reach the last page before we get together. In order to take advantage of this evening’s free time, I’m keeping this post short. We’re discussing Canadian author Eva Stachniak’s The Winter Palace: a novel of Catherine the Great. This novel, told from the point of view of Barbara, one of the maids in the Winter Palace, offers an insider’s look at how the palace was run at the time of Empress Elizabeth in the mid 1700s, when Catherine (Sophie) first comes to the Russian Palace from Poland to meet Elizabeth’s nephew, Peter (descendent of Peter the Great) with the intention of marriage. Barbara genuinely cares for Catherine, and does her best to help her out and keep her safe. But she can only do so much when others conspire against her. The suspense and intrigue in this novel has made me wish I’d had more time to read this week, as the writing is superb. Barbara is an amazing storyteller, and her voice, filled with suspicion, insight and subterfuge, reminds me of Offred in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, where everyone’s movements are noted and stored away in case they can be traded off for some other piece of information.
OK, that’s all for now. I need to finish my book. Enjoy the rest of the day and Happy First Day of Fall (I think that was yesterday, but it’s still a wonderful thing to celebrate!)
Bye for now…