Raincoast Books

What Will You Read Next?

The Imperial Wife

A Novel


St. Martin's Press
Available: 07/19/16
6.35 x 9.2 · 304 pages
CDN $20.99 · pb

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Irina Reyn

The Imperial Wife follows the lives of two women, one in contemporary New York City and the other in eighteenth-century Russia.

Tanya Kagan, a 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 woman 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.

The Imperial Wife asks what female ambition means, today and in the past, and whether a marriage can withstand an ambitious wife.

Praise for The Imperial Wife

"Dazzling and insanely ambitious." -Gary Shteyngart, bestselling author of The Russian Debutante's Handbook

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

"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. 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 is the author of What Happened to Anna K: A Novel . She teaches fiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh and has reviewed books for L.A. Times, Publishers Weekly, San Francisco Chronicle, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Hartford Courant, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, The Forward, and other publications. She was formerly the Books Editor for the online magazine, Killing the Buddha .