It takes courage to turn your life upside down, especially when everyone is telling you how lucky you are. But sometimes what seems right can feel deeply wrong. My Berlin Kitchen tells the story of how one thoroughly confused, kitchen-mad perfectionist broke off her engagement to a handsome New Yorker, quit her dream job, and found her way to a new life, a new man, and a new home in Berlin—one recipe at a time.
Luisa Weiss will seduce you with her stories of foraging for plums in abandoned orchards, battling with white asparagus at the tail end of the season, orchestrating a three-family Thanksgiving in Berlin, and mending her broken heart with batches (and batches) of impossible German Christmas cookies. Fans of her award-winning blog The Wednesday Chef, will know the happy ending, but anyone who enjoyed Julie and Julia will laugh and cheer and cook alongside Luisa as she takes us into her heart and tells us how she gave up everything only to find love waiting where she least expected it. (description from publisher)
Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman is the latest epic biography by Robert Massie, an author who has written many fascinating books dealing with Russia and her historic leaders (including one of my favorites, Nicholas and Alexandra). Catherine the Great started her life simply enough as Sophie, a minor German royal whose mother had lofty aspirations of her daughter marrying well.
After traveling to Russia as a teenager to marry Peter, the nephew of Empress Elizabeth and heir to the throne, Sophie is initially embraced by the members of the Russian court – but that quickly changes. What follows is a whirlwind of betrayals, affairs, and power struggles as Catherine eventually ascends the Russian throne, guided by her studies of philosophy. She used these principles to rule Russia during civil wars and foreign conflicts throughout her reign and the author portrays these events in vivid detail. Massie’s writing style brings the entire era to life and personalizes Catherine as only he can – a highly recommended biography.