‘Making of an Empress’ is the first book in the Hulsteria series. The book focuses on Stelaphina, granddaughter of the current Emperor. Her father died several years ago leaving her heir to the throne. The story takes the reader through the struggles that face Stela as she tries to maneuver the duties of ruling an empire.
On his deathbed, Frederick, her grandfather, warns her to beware her half brother Roderick. He fears he cannot be trusted and has a desire for the throne, or will be convinced to claim what he may believe is his birthright. He was the first son of Frederick’s heir, George but he was illegitimate. Frederick refused to allow him to be named heir leaving Stelaphina George’s, heir. Roderick has no desire for the throne but there are many in Hulsteria who believe he is the one that should ascend upon Frederick’s death. Men don’t like the idea of a woman taking the throne. Stelaphina would be only the second woman to steer the course of Hulsteria’s future.
Stelaphina’s husband, Edmund, is another man in her life she has to contend with. He is the brother of the Emperor of the neighboring realm of Xasha. The two are also distant cousins. He has a wandering eye but swears he is faithful to his wife.
Her youngest sister, Sofia, has been a handful since the day she was born. As she got older and more attractive it has only gotten worse. She is married to an Imperial Archduke but still prefers to surround herself with young more attractive men.
The Benedictus, leader of the Church of Hulsteria, doesn’t support the changes Stelaphina is trying to implement and may cause problems for the new Empress. The man also harbors a secret that could change his view on Stelaphina.
Her cousins, Charity and Rupert, are in her corner and helping her navigate the duties of her new position. They support her new legislation and try to keep Stelaphina sane among all those who would see her fail.
She has a long road ahead of her. Her biggest obstacle is figuring out her allies and her enemies, rarely are they clearly defined.