Ellen Alpsten


Ellen Alpsten was born & raised in the Kenyan highlands. Upon graduating from the l’Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris, she worked as a news-anchor for Bloomberg TV London, doing gruesome night shifts on breakfast TV. She then started to write in earnest, every day, after work, a nap and a run. Today, Ellen works as an author & journalist for international publications such as Vogue, Standpoint, and CN Traveller. She lives in London with her husband, three sons, and a moody fox red Labrador. Tsarina is her debut novel. 


From serf to Empress, from backward nation to superpower: before Catherine the Great, there was Catherine Alexeyevna!  

“This is the ultimate Cinderella story of an illiterate peasant girl who becomes the empress of Russia. It makes Game of Thrones look like a nursery rhyme” –  Daisy Goodwin, 

Tsarina should come with a health warning- once you start reading, it’s impossible to stop” –  Hannah Rothschild, 

“Ellen Apsten’s Tsarina brings to life the dramatic life of Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great, and afterwards Empress of Russia in her own right. She recounts this remarkable woman’s colourful life and times in the form of a novel, drawing however throughout on documentary evidence – this proves a highly effective approach” –  Nikolai Tolstoy 

Tsarina is luscious. As detailed as the jewels and enamel inlay on the creations of Faberge, Ellen Alpsten writes the story of Catherine Alexeyevna, born poor with a lust for power and riches, who sets her mind to achieve both, and sets in motion all that will follow in Russian history, including the reign of Catherine the Great. You will marvel at this crisp, elegant fictional account of history, woven with emotion and brio” –  Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of The Shoemaker’s Wife