Hearts Through History Romance Writers

The Mystery of the Amber Room

Construction of the Amber Room began in 1701. It was originally installed at Charlottenburg Palace, home of Friedrich I, the first King of Prussia. The room was designed by German sculptor Andreas Schlüter and constructed by the Danish amber craftsman Gottfried Wolfram. The room was given to Peter the Great as a gift in 1716 by Frederick William I in honor of a Prussian-Russian alliance against Sweden.

The Amber Room was shipped to Russia and is believed to have been installed in the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. In 1755, Empress Elizabeth ordered the room to be moved to the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo. Italian architect Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli redesigned the room to fit into its new, larger space using additional amber shipped from Berlin. The room covered 180 square feet and glowed with six tons of amber and other semi-precious stones. The amber panels were backed with gold leaf and the room was estimated to be worth $150 million today. Over time, the Amber Room was used as a private meditation chamber for Empress Elizabeth, a gathering room for Catherine the Great, and a trophy space for amber enthusiast Alexander II.


American Marines Land on Iwo Jimo


by Anna Kathryn Lanier

One of the most famous photographs in the world is of the raising of the American flag on Iwo Jimo, four days after three divisions of

First Flag Raising

U.S. Marines had landed on the island 700 miles south of Tokyo. But the action captured on film was not without a price.  

 Sixty-seven years ago today at 8:59 a.m., February 19, 1945, the first wave of Marines landed on Red Beach One for a decisive, bloody and month-long battle. Iwo Jimo is a speck on the map, a small dot in the Pacific Ocean.  It is five miles long and three miles wide at its widest point. A dormant volcano climbs 556 feet above the ocean floor (this is where the second flag was raised, the one in the famous photograph).



One young Marine is said to have commented that the island is “not worth fifty cents at a sheriff’s sale.”