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Fanny Lear: Love and Scandal in Tsarist…
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Fanny Lear: Love and Scandal in Tsarist Russia

by Eva and Daniel McDonald

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This book was a disappointment, especially considering that it could have been so much more. The real "meat" of the book consists of the memoirs of Fanny Lear, mistress of Grand Duke Nicholas Constantinovich of Russia. Long since lost and translated here from the French, they tell of a woman in love with a public figure only to suffer the inevitable collapse of such a relationship as between Grand Duke and courtesan. This part of the book is very interesting.

What it lacks, however, is the representation of scholarly details. The authors don't include footnotes or endnotes, which would have helped tremendously in the figuring out of who is who. The short bibliography is given under the heading of "Acknowledgements".

The book very briefly glosses over Fanny Lear's early life and first marriage, which resulted in the birth of a daughter. However, the authors don't even give us a clue as to the daughter's fate, after the end of this marriage. Several pieces of information near the end of the book are repeated several times.

I wish the authors would go back and give this book a good edit. They could really have something here, but unfortunately, this edition falls a little flat. ( )
  briandrewz | Oct 9, 2012 |
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Hattie Blackford, born in Philadelphia developed notoriety as a courtesan in the 1870’s before moving to the social circles of European aristocratic society. Her two years in Russia (where she adopted the pseudonym of Fanny Lear) resulted in a passionate love affair with a nephew of the tsar. This evolved into a scandal causing her expulsion from Russia and his exile to the remote regions of the Empire. The diplomatic sensitivities continued with Russia pressing France and Italy to expel Fanny Lear.
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