"The Imperial Wife is a smart, engaging novel that parallels two fascinating worlds and two singular women. Irina Reyn writes beautifully of immigrants, art and the vagaries of love."
--Jess Walter, National Book Award finalist and author of the New York Times bestseller, Beautiful Ruins
Two women's lives collide when a priceless Russian artifact comes to light.
Tanya Kagan, a rising specialist in Russian art at a top New York auction house, is trying to entice Russia's wealthy oligarchs to bid on the biggest sale of her career, The Order of Saint Catherine, while making sense of the sudden and unexplained departure of her husband.
As questions arise over the provenance of the Order and auction fever kicks in, Reyn takes us into the dazzling world of Catherine the Great, the infamous 18th-century empress, who may have owned the priceless artifact, and who, it turns out, faced many of the same issues Tanya wrestles with in her own life.
Suspenseful and beautifully written, The Imperial Wife asks whether we view female ambition any differently today than we did in the past. Can a contemporary marriage withstand an “Imperial Wife”?