Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman, by Robert K. Massie, was probably the most riveting non-fiction that I’ve ever read. Massie crafted a bio that reads like a novel, full of palace intrigue, insight into the large cast of characters, romance, and more, from the life of an extremely intelligent and interesting ruler. Massie avoids the pitfalls of non-fiction by keeping things moving quickly and not bogging the story down in too much detail. Even though it’s a doorstop at 500-something pages, I can honestly call this a page turner and I highly recommend it!
Cristina Alger’s The Darlings was a perfect book to read after Catherine the Great, because it’s a complete 180. From 18th century Russia we move to modern day NYC, in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis. It was interesting to delve into this story and see the “crash” from the perspective of a Wall Street family who one would typically see as-not villanous, persay, but not exactly sympathetic. This was a page turner as well, in a different way, and it was fun to read something so timely.