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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Imperial Wife

The Imperial Wife

A Novel

Irina Reyn

Thomas Dunne Books

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"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 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”?

Tanya

PRESENT DAY



The Burliuk is a fake. To make sure, I flash the ultraviolet light closer to the surface. No doubt about it—the form’s flat, the red way off. The image has no depth, and the tentative, choppy...

Praise for The Imperial Wife

Praise for The Imperial Wife

"This intriguing novel carries the reader between modern day Manhattan and Russia in the age of Catherine the Great. Prepare to be absorbed and transported." --Elin Hilderbrand, bestselling author of The Rumor

“If only we could meet our historical counterparts. Reyn does just that, aligning a Russian art specialist in contemporary New York and Catherine the Great. The dual narratives make for an imaginative, thrilling, and exquisite novel.” –Kaui Hart Hemmings, New York Times bestselling author of The Descendants

"Dazzling and insanely ambitious.” --Gary Shteyngart, New York Times bestselling author of The Russian Debutante’s Handbook and Little Failure: A Memoir

"Irina Reyn is a wonderful writer -- witty and compassionate, lyrical and sharp -- and The Imperial Wife is a deeply intelligent and expansive book that offers as many fascinating insights into love and ambition as it does about Catherine the Great and the contemporary art world. I loved it."
--Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans, nominated for the National Book Award and finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize

"I literally could not put down Irina Reyn's The Imperial Wife. The manner in which this author is able to switch back and forth between the dwindling marriage of a contemporary New York couple and the domestic life of Catherine the Great is nothing less than masterful. Every aspect of young Catherine's life is utterly fascinating--and Reyn hits … More…

Praise for The Imperial Wife

"This intriguing novel carries the reader between modern day Manhattan and Russia in the age of Catherine the Great. Prepare to be absorbed and transported." --Elin Hilderbrand, bestselling author of The Rumor

“If only we could meet our historical counterparts. Reyn does just that, aligning a Russian art specialist in contemporary New York and Catherine the Great. The dual narratives make for an imaginative, thrilling, and exquisite novel.” –Kaui Hart Hemmings, New York Times bestselling author of The Descendants

"Dazzling and insanely ambitious.” --Gary Shteyngart, New York Times bestselling author of The Russian Debutante’s Handbook and Little Failure: A Memoir

"Irina Reyn is a wonderful writer -- witty and compassionate, lyrical and sharp -- and The Imperial Wife is a deeply intelligent and expansive book that offers as many fascinating insights into love and ambition as it does about Catherine the Great and the contemporary art world. I loved it."
--Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans, nominated for the National Book Award and finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize

"I literally could not put down Irina Reyn's The Imperial Wife. The manner in which this author is able to switch back and forth between the dwindling marriage of a contemporary New York couple and the domestic life of Catherine the Great is nothing less than masterful. Every aspect of young Catherine's life is utterly fascinating--and Reyn hits those historical details so squarely on the head, the chapters were reminiscent of Hilary Mantel's finest work. But Tanya, the modern protagonist, is also vivid, complex, and utterly heartbreaking, which gives her chapters equal weight and prominence. Not to mention the subtle yet inevitable way the lives of these unlikely sisters were woven together throughout. When I finished the book, I was both sorry it was over and overwhelmed with this author's skill. This is the most satisfying novel I've read in a long, long time." --Katie Crouch, New York Times bestselling author of Girls in Trucks and Abroad

“Irina Reyn writes splendidly about three worlds we might not know about: the high-end auction house, the high-worth oligarch, and The Empress Catherine. She brings the tension and uncertainty of the impecunious immigrant experience into startling alignment with that of Russians - and the German-born Catherine - who’ve moved into a world of unthinkable wealth and fearful instability. This book is full of brilliant observation and beautiful writing.” --Roxana Robinson, author of Sparta

"A marvelously engaging, affecting and amusing novel." --Phillip Lopate

"An absorbing and ingeniously layered novel that seamlessly braids Russian royalty from queens to oligarchs with the darker truths of New York’s sparkling art auctions. Irina Reyn’s narrator is as mesmerizing as the story she tells, a woman whose intelligent strength becomes her singular flaw when her career and her marriage collide. Thoroughly researched and deftly spun--everything a great read should be—informative, insightful and enormously entertaining." --Carol Cassella, bestselling author of Oxygen and Gemni

Praise for What Happened to Anna K.

Literate and fun, What Happened to Anna K. is an uncommonly ambitious book and one of the year's most amusing reads. —Michelle Green, People magazine, People Pick, four stars

It takes hubris to attempt a modern version of Anna Karenina, arguably the greatest novel ever written... The talented Irina Reyn has done it smartly her own way. —USA Today on What Happened to Anna K

Irina Reyn is a marvelous writer. —San Francisco Chronicle on What Happened to Anna K

Reyn's update, like the century she writes in, is faster, busier, more stylish, more self-conscious: it is Sex and the City meets Fiddler on the Roof. —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on What Happened to Anna K

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Reviews from Goodreads

Irina Reyn

IRINA REYN is the author of What Happened to Anna K: A Novel. She is also the editor of the anthology Living on the Edge of the World: New Jersey Writers Take on the Garden State. She has reviewed books for the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, The Forward, and other publications. Her fiction and nonfiction has appeared in One Story, Tin House, Town & Country Travel and Poets & Writers. She teaches fiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh.

image of Irina Reyno
Karolin Obregon

Read Author Interview at The Rumpus

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