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Gabrielle ZevinThe American Booksellers Association collects nominations from bookstores all over the country for favorite forthcoming titles. The Storied Life of... Continue »
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The Pearl: A True Tale of Forbidden Love in Catherine the Great's Russia

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The Pearl: A True Tale of Forbidden Love in Catherine the Great's Russia Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Filled with a remarkable cast of characters and set against the backdrop of imperial Russia, this tale of forbidden romance could be the stuff of a great historical novel. But in fact The Pearl tells a true tale, reconstructed in part from archival documents that have lain untouched for centuries. Douglas Smith presents the most complete and accurate account ever written of the illicit love between Count Nicholas Sheremetev (1751-1809), Russia's richest aristocrat, and Praskovia Kovalyova (1768-1803), his serf and the greatest opera diva of her time.

Blessed with a beautiful voice, Praskovia began her training in Nicholas's operatic company as a young girl. Like all the members of Nicholas's troupe, Praskovia was one of his own serfs. But unlike the others, she utterly captured her master's heart. The book reconstructs Praskovia's stage career as "The Pearl" and the heartbreaking details of her romance with Nicholas — years of torment before their secret marriage, the outrage of the aristocracy when news of the marriage emerged, Praskovia's death only days after delivering a son, and the unyielding despair that followed Nicholas to the end of his life. Written with grace and style, The Pearl sheds light on the world of the Russian aristocracy, music history, and Russian attitudes toward serfdom. But above all, the book tells a haunting story of love against all odds.

Review:

"Douglas Smith has produced the definitive account, and the first in English, of the extraordinary relationship between Count Nicholas Sheremetev, Russia's wealthiest noble ever, and his wife, a former serf actress known as The Pearl." Hilde Hoogenboom, University of Albany

Review:

"A moving, romantic, and tragic historical tale." Elise Wirtschafter, California State Polytechnic University

Review:

"The Pearl is a bright, sparkling jewel of a book; a masterpiece that deserves as wide an audience as possible. Russia's greatest love story has never been properly told, until now." Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana, Duchess of

Review:

"The Pearl is a portrait of one of the greatest and least known love stories in European history. Douglas Smith, a brilliant historian who writes like a novelist, has brought it to life in a rare blend of meticulous research and gripping emotional narrative. Mesmerizing." Andrea Lee, author of Russian Journal andInteresting Women

Review:

"Smiths book is an unusual gem-a work that gives us not only an absorbing view of the intimate world of a forbidden romance but also a first-rate historical tour of the lost landscapes of Russian aristocratic society, opera, and theater in its golden age." Willard Sunderland, University of Cincinnati

About the Author

Douglas Smith is a resident scholar at the University of Washington and the author of the prize-winning books Working the Rough Stone: Freemasonry and Society in Eighteenth-Century Russia and Love and Conquest: Personal Correspondence of Catherine the Great and Prince Grigory Potemkin.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780300120417
Author:
Smith, Douglas
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Subject:
General History
Subject:
Singers
Subject:
Opera
Subject:
General
Subject:
Composers & Musicians - Classical Vocalists
Subject:
Genres & Styles - Opera
Subject:
History & Criticism - General
Subject:
Kovaleva-Zhemchugova, P. I
Subject:
Singers - Russia
Subject:
Biography-Composers and Musicians
Subject:
Historical
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20080531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
16 b/w + 11 color illus. + 2 family tree
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9 x 5.81 in 1.1 lb

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Opera
Arts and Entertainment » Music » History and Criticism
Biography » Composers and Musicians
History and Social Science » Russia » Tsarist Russia
Humanities » Philosophy » General

The Pearl: A True Tale of Forbidden Love in Catherine the Great's Russia New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$31.50 Backorder
Product details 352 pages Yale University Press - English 9780300120417 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Douglas Smith has produced the definitive account, and the first in English, of the extraordinary relationship between Count Nicholas Sheremetev, Russia's wealthiest noble ever, and his wife, a former serf actress known as The Pearl."
"Review" by , "A moving, romantic, and tragic historical tale."
"Review" by , "The Pearl is a bright, sparkling jewel of a book; a masterpiece that deserves as wide an audience as possible. Russia's greatest love story has never been properly told, until now."
"Review" by , "The Pearl is a portrait of one of the greatest and least known love stories in European history. Douglas Smith, a brilliant historian who writes like a novelist, has brought it to life in a rare blend of meticulous research and gripping emotional narrative. Mesmerizing."
"Review" by , "Smiths book is an unusual gem-a work that gives us not only an absorbing view of the intimate world of a forbidden romance but also a first-rate historical tour of the lost landscapes of Russian aristocratic society, opera, and theater in its golden age."
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