Sunday, April 24, 2016

546 (2016 #12). A Very Dangerous Woman

by Deborah McDonald and Jeremy Dronfield

A Very Dangerous Woman: The Lives, Loves and Lies of Russia's Most Seductive Spy is a biography of Maria (Moura) Ignatievna Zakrevskaya Benckendorff Budberg (ABT 1891 - 1974), a Russian aristocrat turned spy, who had affairs with various famous men:  British diplomat Bruce Lockhart, Russian writer Maxim Gorky, and British author H. G. Wells.  I'm not sure I'd describe her as "very dangerous," though, as it seems her "spying" consisted mostly of passing along gossip.

The subject is not a particularly likable woman, and between that and the excessive detail about her life, I had a hard time finishing this book.  It just didn't grab me.  However, the authors certainly did their research, with 43 pages of end notes supported by an eight-page bibliography (most of Budberg's letters to Lockhart, Gorky, and Wells had been preserved), and there is also an eight-page index.

© Amanda Pape - 2016

[I received this paperback through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.  It will be passed on to someone else to enjoy.]

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