Author Topic: The White Night of St. Petersburg  (Read 4458 times)

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Offline Misha

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The White Night of St. Petersburg
« on: January 04, 2005, 03:29:40 AM »
Hey everyone. I was wandering through Borders tonight and came across a new book by Prince Michael of Greece called "The White Night of St. Petersburg." Has anyone read it yet, or heard any reviews on it?  I'd greatly welcome any feedback.  Thanks Bunches!

~Misha~
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Misha »

Offline Penny_Wilson

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Re: The White Night of St. Petersburg
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2005, 12:36:44 PM »
Greg and I have a copy -- but he has it in Seattle right now, so I haven't had a chance to read it myself.  But I did ask Greg the other night what his opinion of it was, and he thought that it was a good story, well told.  All that was missing was a preface or commentary on the background of the story -- what was true, what wasn't, and why the author chose to go in the direction he did...
"Don't do anything by half. If you love someone, love them with all your soul. When you go to work, work your ass off. When you hate someone, hate them until it hurts."  -- A Piece of Good Advice

Sometimes the truth hurts. And sometimes it feels real good. -- Henry Rollins

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: The White Night of St. Petersburg
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2005, 01:04:21 PM »
Here are a couple of editorial reviews from Amazon (probably too new to have any customer reviews yet):

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
The publishing world—and possibly readers as well—never tire of the Romanovs. This reimagination of the life story of one of the last of the czarist family's peripheral members has a heady provenance; the author is Prince Michael of Greece, a descendent of the Romanovs and a relative of most of Europe's remaining royalty. Grand Duke Nicholas Kostantinovich grew up in 19th-century Russia, his fractious childhood marked by rivalries with his relatives, notably the future emperor Alexander. As an adult, the dashing Nicholas romances an American courtesan and is suspected of having "socialist ideals"; to spare the royal family embarrassment, he's banished from Moscow under heavy guard, though house arrest doesn't prevent him from scandalously seducing a series of women. The author has written several books about the lives of royalty (The Empress of Farewells; etc.) and his knowledge of names and places of the period is considerable. But despite the sophisticated trappings, the language is downright ordinary: nearly every woman is described as "exceptionally beautiful," "a devastating beauty" or "strikingly beautiful," and the accounts of the grand duke's innumerable sexual conquests are standard romance at best.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist
At the 1998 interment of Czar Nicholas II and his family, Prince Michael of Greece, a distant Romanov relation, met an elderly woman with mysterious ties to the more well-known Romanovs assembled in St. Petersburg to pay tribute to the brutally murdered last czar. Curious, he arranged to meet privately with Natalya Androssov Iskander Romanov in her native Moscow. In short order, Talya confessed that she was actually the granddaughter of Grand Duke Nicholas Konstantinovich, Prince Michael's great uncle. Denying any knowledge of this kinsman, Prince Michael, himself somewhat of an amateur family genealogist, needed some hard evidence before he was totally convinced of the grand duke's existence. Fictionalizing Talya's mesmerizing account of the long-forgotten Romanov, Prince Michael weaves a spellbinding account of intrigue, passion, and rebellion, culminating in the exile of the grand duke and his permanent expulsion from the official Romanov family records. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Description:
In the summer of 1998, Prince Michael of Greece attended a solemn interment ceremony for Tsar Nicholas II and his family, who were murdered eighty years earlier. While there, he noticed a dazzling older woman in the crowd and, curious to know her connection, traveled to Moscow to meet her. Natalya Androssov Iskander Romanov met Prince Michael and revealed the long-buried story of her grandfather, the Grand Duke Nicholas. All record of Nicholas Kostantinovich Romanov was erased from the royal dynasty's official vaults, so Natalya's memories remained the only key to his past. As she speaks, the narrative fades to a snow-filled St. Petersburg morning in November 1860, and there begins the fantastic re-imagining of the rebellious and dashing duke's life. His scandalous affair with the devastatingly beautiful American courtesan Fanny Lear and his implication in a plot to fund revolutionaries by stealing family jewels led the emperor to banish him to the far reaches of the vast Russian empire to avoid tarnishing the family name. From the glittering splendor of Imperial Russia to treks across the barren steppe, The White Night of St. Petersburg brings to life a fascinating and forgotten member of one of history's most legendary families.


Offline Misha

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Re: The White Night of St. Petersburg
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2005, 02:47:34 PM »
Great, thanks so much for your responses  Penny_ Wlson and Helen_ Azar :)  I agree, it prolly is too early for much reader feedback at this time, however, it does look promising. Though I must admit I was a little suprised to see that Prince Michael is writing Romanov fiction now. However, I think I may give it a try. It's nasty, rainy weather here today so its the perfect kind of a day to curl up with a good book and some tea.   ;)I'll let you know what I think when I'm a little into it. Thanks again,
~Misha~

Offline Dominic_Albanese

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Re: The White Night of St. Petersburg
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2005, 06:52:08 PM »
Hi - I just finished reading it.  I was ok - kinda slow in places.  It has whet my appetite to learn more about Grand Duke Nicholas.  I'd like to know what was accurate and what was fiction about him.

dca

Offline jcl

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Re: The White Night of St. Petersburg
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2005, 07:03:53 PM »

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: The White Night of St. Petersburg
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2005, 08:02:07 PM »
I trust Mr. Kurth's critical opinion very much.  This is one book I shall pass.
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

Do you want the truth, or my side of the story ?- Hank Ketchum.

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: The White Night of St. Petersburg
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2005, 08:24:50 PM »
If the rest of the book is anything like the except Peter Kurth uses to make his point in the review (the "Fanny" scene) then I will pass too!   :P

Offline AGRBear

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Re: The White Night of St. Petersburg
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2005, 04:47:56 PM »
I broke down and bought a used book and I'll let you know my thoughts when I'm finished.

AGRBear
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AGRBear »
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

Joubert, Pensees, No. 152

Offline Melanie

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Re: The White Night of St. Petersburg
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2005, 09:31:17 PM »
Ok I just got this book.  I haven't read it yet as I just got it for Christmas.  Is it historically accurate or not?  Is it a good read or not?  Yikes...has anyone read it?  I appreciate any feedback you all have!!  ;D

Offline rgt9w

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Re: The White Night of St. Petersburg
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2010, 08:40:29 AM »
Does anyone have any information the confirms the description of the fire in the the Peter & Paul Cathedral during the funeral of Empress Alexandra Feodrovna (Charlotte of Prussia)? I had never seen this referenced before and I certainly have read anything that implied it was set by the young Grand Duke Nicholas Konstantinovich?

Offline Pegschalet

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Re: The White Night of St. Petersburg
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2010, 09:57:26 AM »
I haven't read Prince Michael's book.  The story has already been written by an American author.  It's called "The Scandalous Mrs. Blackford" by Harnett T. Kane with Victor Leclerc.  Published in 1951  It is told from her side of the story.  "The fabulous story of an American woman's empire-shaking love affair with the Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia.  It looks like it was well researched.  Victor Leclerc is a pseudonym for a well known Russian  scholar and lecturer.  He heard the story from descendants of the old Russian court circle who remembered how she had shocked and charmed St. Petersburg.  Her journal was suppressed but a few rare copies existed.  Mr. Leclerc found it at the New York Public Library among the books which no one under 18 was allowed to read. Mrs. Blackford came from Old Philadelphia society (ala Princess Grace) and the newspapers of the time were filled with her exploits.  She was just "Scandalous" and the papers loved her.  

She published an account in 1875 in Paris "Le Roman d'une Americaine in Russie under penname Fanny Lear.  A few copies that exist have 20 pages torn out by the Belgian police under pressure from the Russian GOvt.  Her book includes letters from her lover, the Tsar's nephew.
I enjoyed the story and it was a quick read. Interesting from the Americain point of view which is unusual in Romanov stories.  A good addition to your library.   Pretty reasonable on Amazon link:
 http://www.amazon.com/scandalous-Mrs-Blackford-Harnett-Thomas/dp/B0007E4NUC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267372534&sr=8-1
« Last Edit: February 28, 2010, 09:59:26 AM by Pegschalet »

Offline Ally Kumari

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Re: The White Night of St. Petersburg
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2017, 10:58:45 AM »
This was a big disappointment to me. The greatest flaw was that the author seemingly couldn´t decide whther he wanted to write a novel or a non-fiction book. In the end he decided to create "fiction", but his style was more "non-fiction" throughout and it didn´t suit the story at all. That means the book is a very sloppy read, and at the same time too unreliable to fall back on for facts. Wasted opportunity.

I also need to mention, that I read the English version (while the original is French, I believe), and I really hope that some phrasing is just a matter of bad translation. Cannot recommend this to anyone.
To sum it up: An awfully written book about two awful people having a truly awful, unhealthy relationship.

Offline amelia

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Re: The White Night of St. Petersburg
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2017, 05:31:45 PM »
My husband and I wrote a book FANNY LEAR LOVE AND SCANDAL IN TSARIST RUSSIA. I translated Hattie Blackford's memories into  English, which are the main part of my book. We also went to Uzbekistan, Nice and the National Archives and we got a lot of information about Hattie Blackford and Grand Duke Nicholas Konstantinovich. The best thing of our "adventure" was to visit his palace in Tashkent. In Tashkent we spoke to a scholar who gave us interesting information about the Grand Duke's life in Turkestan.

Eva McDonald
(Amelia)

Offline Ally Kumari

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Re: The White Night of St. Petersburg
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2017, 01:21:27 AM »
Amelia - I actually bought your book last year and plan to read it! I hope to learn new things and get better idea of how much Prince Michael made up in his book.