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The Pearl: A True Tale of Forbidden Love in Catherine the Great's Russia Paperback – 14 Aug 2009
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''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 Devonshire'. 'An engaging narrative... Scrupulous research underlies this fascinating picture of life at Russia's top social echelon.' George Loomis, Moscow Times --Amanda Foreman, George Loomis
"The blend of historical and fictional discourse offers a highly readable complement to more academic studies ... Smith does an excellent job." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Product description
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The heroine is Praskovia Ivanovna Kovalyova who was one of the best opera singers in eighteenth-century Russia. She was born into the family of a serf smith. They were owned by the Counts Sheremetevs,who had made their fortune as military leader of Peter the Great. 200.000 serfs were own with body and soul by the Sheremetevs. Count Nikolai loved the theatre and kept a serf theatre. Its brightest star became Parskovia.In this 1780 performance Sacchini's opera La coloniethe actress for the first time appeared under the stage name Zhemchugova, "The Pearl", (zhemchug means "pearl" in Russian). She became the count's mistress; not unusal but this was more. She became a wife in all but name. Already quite scandalous. However, this all went further. Freed by the count, in 1801 she became secretly his wife and mother of his son Dimitry. She died shortly afterwards in 1803. The count had already asked and received official recognition of his marriage. This marriage scandalized society and angered Nikolai's family. His two nephews wanted of course to inherit his vast fortune.T he plaque on Praskovia's grave is a monument for the count's love: This plain marble, unfeeling and impermanent, Hides the priceless remains of a wife and mother. Her soul was a temple of virtue, In which peace, piety, and faith resided, Where pure love and friendship dwellt. He died in 1809.Read more ›
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