Author Topic: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita  (Read 43346 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline bookworm857158367

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 262
    • View Profile
Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2006, 07:18:55 PM »
I reread this book recently and still find it annoying. The author describes everyone as "beautiful" or "handsome," etc. As a writer I find his style really annoying.  I do like Ducky, though, which is why I bought it in the first place. I wish someone would write a better biography of her. There must be a lot of untapped material about her daughters, her life in France, etc. I admire Ducky's spirit and her guts. She refused to stay in an intolerable situation with Ernest and reached out for the man she really did want. Unfortunately, he wasn't worthy of her.

Offline imperial angel

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2006, 08:29:32 AM »
Yes, I agree about Ducky. I think someday there might be a better biography of her, if the biographer can be objective, and yet not critical. She seems to inspire either a great deal of admiration, or dislike. I suppose that makes it hard to write a biography of her, if you feel either way about it. Ducky wasn't perfect, but she deserves a fair biography, not one that either makes her sound like a saint, or one that just covers the basic facts of her life. I am sure there are many biographies of Missy. I have read two full length ones in English, and also a book where she is included in English.

Offline Linnea

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 361
    • View Profile
Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2006, 09:38:26 AM »
Is Van Der Kiste´s book on Ducky worth reading? Or is it as "bad" as this one by Sullivan?

Offline grandduchessella

  • Global Moderator
  • Velikye Knyaz
  • *****
  • Posts: 13061
  • Getting Ready to Move to Europe :D
    • View Profile
    • Facebook page
Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2006, 03:55:33 PM »
It's worth reading as a standard bio. It's more a 'just the facts, ma'am' kind of book than a in-depth biography. His books are kind of dry this way but I like them for gaining a basic understanding of the subject's life. You want get any analysis or real narrative though.
They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
Come visit on Pinterest--http://pinterest.com/lawrbk/

Offline Eric_Lowe

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 17014
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2006, 08:31:43 PM »
You got into the crust of the Van Der Kiste books. Nice read but strictly 101 (basic) on the subject.

Offline Guinastasia

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 175
  • Celestial Grand Duchess of Penguins
    • View Profile
Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2006, 01:00:38 AM »
I hope I'm not going to be stoned, but I have never liked Ducky.  Yes, I feel for her, and I think she had a rough life, but for some reason, I just cannot warm to her.

It's funny, because her sister, Marie of Roumania, is one of my all time favorites, and she and Ducky were very close.  I don't know, I can't explain it.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Offline Eddie_uk

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2925
    • View Profile
Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #21 on: July 29, 2006, 03:47:00 AM »
I think Ducky was rather complex and I agree I find her quite difficult to take to. I think she  had a lot of her mother in her?! I think she became very bitter in later life blaming her grandmother etc!

I really like John Van Der Kistes books even if they are just basic, their are so many tit bits!! I particularly liked "Edward VIIs children"  :) hes written so many too, I take my hat of to him.  :D
Grief is the price we pay for love.

FREE PALESTINE.

Offline Ilana

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 730
  • I love any info on VMH
    • View Profile
    • Queen Victoria's Granddaughters
Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #22 on: July 29, 2006, 12:58:35 PM »
Agreed about John VDK... he and I have discussed this and he definitely fills a niche.  You get your start with him... and he write beautifully, in my opinion, then you go on to more detail of what interests you....
So long and thanks for all the fish

Offline Eric_Lowe

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 17014
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2006, 09:31:19 AM »
Yes I agree...You start out with Van Der Kiste but you do not stay with him. In the end, you outgrow him...Unlike someone like John Rohl, whose books on Willy I cannot praise more.  ;)

Offline grandduchessella

  • Global Moderator
  • Velikye Knyaz
  • *****
  • Posts: 13061
  • Getting Ready to Move to Europe :D
    • View Profile
    • Facebook page
Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #24 on: July 30, 2006, 04:23:19 PM »
Absolutely. I have almost all of JVDK's books--I don't have the ones on subjects that don't interest me. They were amongst some of the very first ones I read and I loved the photos in them. He provides more than in other biographies. It's just as Ilana said--you start out with them and then move on to the more in-depth ones. They are great for gaining basic knowledge of a subject.

And I love Rohl's! I finally got a hold of a library copy of his first volume.  :)

And as for guinastasia's view--I feel the same way. I'm interested in Ducky but not emotionally invested in her or in her romance with Kyril, which normally would have many of the elements I love in a tale. I find her rather hard despite her passionate temperament. I much prefer Missy and Bee.
They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
Come visit on Pinterest--http://pinterest.com/lawrbk/

Offline Eric_Lowe

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 17014
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #25 on: July 30, 2006, 07:03:24 PM »
I agree I like Baby Bee the best as she turned out to be such a lost treasure ! More to come I think...Well I guess Ducky was someone made to be in a tragedy (sad and misguided woman), but I couldn't but felt for her misfortunates.  :(

Offline TampaBay

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4214
  • Being TampaBay is a Full Time Job.
    • View Profile
Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #26 on: July 31, 2006, 06:22:10 AM »
I think the key to understanding Ducky (which I do not) is understanding her mother.  A good indepth Pakula/Massie type bio needs to be written on GD Marie.  Her letters need to be published.  I think then much insight into Duckt will be gained.

TampaBay
"Fashion is so rarely great art that if we cannot appreciate great trash, we should stop going to the mall.

Offline Eddie_uk

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2925
    • View Profile
Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #27 on: July 31, 2006, 07:20:02 AM »
I agree TB! a biography on Marie Coburg would be fascinating, love to learn more about her final years. And I love Vickys comment on how she "loved being No.1"!!! ;D

Also agree, JVKs books do indeed give a flavour of the subject! I like them a lot :)
Grief is the price we pay for love.

FREE PALESTINE.

Offline Eric_Lowe

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 17014
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #28 on: July 31, 2006, 08:48:24 AM »
Indeed ! I am lucky to have heard a few of Marie Coburg's letters read up both publically and privately by researcher John Wimbles. They are great !  ;)

Offline Bach

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 30
  • I'll be Bach
    • View Profile
Re: A Fatal Passion: The Story of Victoria Melita
« Reply #29 on: July 31, 2006, 11:23:37 AM »
I never thought very much of Ducky to begin with, and after reading this book, I thought even less of her.  He whole life seemed to be a justification for taking exactly what she wanted and not caring who she hurt to get it.  As long as everyone lived by Ducky's rules, everything was "ducky."

She wasn't up to the responsibility of being the consort of a reigning Grand Duke, and long before fissures appeared in the marriage she was acting out inappropriately.  I felt sorry for the citizens of Hesse-Darmstadt who welcomed her; they must have been bewildered at her behaviour.

She was a granddaughter of Victoria: she knew well what an arranged marriage was, what its limitations were, and what the responsibilities are regarding power and position.  She seems to have enjoyed the perquisites of position and money without wanting to engage in its responsibilities.

I find it interesting that the author "outs" both of her H's as homosexuals in this book; while Ernst is likely to have been gay, there is no evidence other than the bitter musings of Ducky herself to support a presumption that Kyril was a practicing homosexual.  However, the estrangement of the couple after such a build-up of turgid love and star-crossed lovers-defying-social-mores required a particularly henious "crime" to end it - hence, the scrapings of scandal tossed in for dessert.

While standards of beauty change, I also find the book's glorification of Ducky as simply too, too gorgeous as similar contemporary reports of the alleged beauty of, say, Paris Hilton. 

She does not strike me as an admirable person, nor a woman of inner or outer beauty.  I actually paid for this book, but the bookseller did allow me to exchange it; otherwise, I might be even more irritated.  There are so many others in these respective Royal families who understood honor and dignity, and are worthy of admiration, that I cannot believe ink was spilled on behalf of this one individual.

And finally - exactly what was "fatal" about her "passion?"  Her family survived the Revolution, unlike so many other families.  Her daughter by Ernst died young but that had nothing to do with Ducky.  More turgidity and purple prose...the author clearly never heard of "more matter with less art."