I love the Victorian Era, so much happening, changing, evolving. Course over the nearly seven decades that’s not surprising but that’s what makes it so fun! There were monarchs who wanted reform but couldn’t execute it, and monarchs who didn’t but hadn’t the choice. Trains, automobiles, steamships, telegraphs, electricity, it’s amazing what happened during those 64 years.
In Kiss of Scandal, I moved to Russia and the gorgeous Winter Palace. Built between 1754 and 1762 for Empress Elizabeth I, it was the official residence to Russia’s tsars until the 1917 Revolution. The palace possesses 1,786 doors, 1,945 windows, 1,500 rooms and 117 staircases. Its principal façade is 500 ft by 100 ft. I wouldn’t want to clean all that! But I wouldn’t mind living there. 🙂
A fire in 1837 destroyed much of the interior but it was quickly remodeled to reflect Nicholas I’s style and taste.
During the Crimean War (1854-1856), Nicholas I played a large part in Russian military maneuvers. A brilliant tactician, it was ultimately his fault Russia bungled the war so badly. Check out Roger Fenton’s photos from the era.
(Right top: Winter Palace at night. Right Bottom: Jordan Staircase)
Understanding Russian nobility. Not the easiest thing ever, but here’s the short version:
Tsar & Tsariana
Tsesarevich (heir to the throne)
Grand Duke & Grand Duchess (all other children and their children)
Prince & Princess
Count & Countess
Baron & Baroness
For a more complex look (but no more clear), try this wiki article.
Kiss of Scandal portrays Russia without ever leaving the vicious splendor that is the tsar’s court in the Winter Palace. Amid backstabbing and murderous plotting, Count Nikolai Orlov and Countess Katria Markova struggle to keep each other alive.
In the wreckage of a friend’s death, Countess Katria Markova finds her perfectly ordered life, irrevocably altered. Russian politics proves more dangerous than the front lines of war, and when her fiancé’s future is threatened by rumors of treason, their cat-and-mouse game ends. In its place, a political game, where their very lives are at stake, begins.
Count Nikolai Orlov will do anything to clear his brother’s name. Anything except put Katria in harm’s way. Attracted to her from the moment they met, he’s spent their time together breaking the wall that surrounds her heart. He wants the passionate woman beneath, wants to shatter her cool exterior.
With her life in danger, Nikolai’s only course of action is to exact revenge. From the snowy streets of St. Petersburg to the River Neva’s icy depths, they search for the answers to clear Nikolai. But in their search, will they lose each other?