The Woman of a Thousand Names

Alexandra Lapierre. Atria, $30 (640p) ISBN 978-1-5011-9791-8
Lapierre (Between Love and Honor) serves up a stirring portrait of a sensual Russian aristocrat famous for her charm and “thousand faces.” Three years into Maria “Moura” Ignatyevna Zakrevskaya’s first marriage, at age 18, to Djon von Benckendorff, and facing the turmoil of WWI and the Bolshevik revolution, Moura continues to make new friends and lovers while raising two children. After she meets British diplomat Robert Bruce Lockhart, she discovers true love’s “sensation of lightness” and dives into a tumultuous affair. Their romance subjects Moura to manipulation and extortion by Bolshevik police and the British military, both of which want information from her. Moura is repeatedly arrested, her house is ransacked by rioters, and Djon is executed by militants. With Robert shipped back to Britain, Moura’s passion is reignited by the celebrated author Maxim Gorky, a personal confidant of Lenin. Djon’s family, aware of Moura’s series of lovers, insist that Moura remarry to reclaim her children, leading to a mutually beneficial deal with an alcoholic Baron named Nikolai Budberg. Lapierre evokes Moura’s appeal by moving between the impressions she makes on others, including Gorky and H.G. Wells, and her own deep feelings, meshing history with a captivating tale of a passionate heart. This will move readers. (Mar.)

Correction: An earlier version of this review misstated the title of the book.

Reviewed on : 01/13/2020
Release date: 03/31/2020
Genre: Fiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-0696-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-7971-0698-4
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