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By: (1857-1948)

This novel by the prolific Californian author Gertrude Horn Atherton is based on the real life story of Nikolai Rezanov, a man who, in 1806, pushed for the Russian colonization of Alaska and California. "Not twenty pages have you turned before you know this Rezanov, privy councilor, grand chamberlain, plenipotentiary of the Russo-American company, imperial inspector of the extreme eastern and northwestern dominions of his imperial majesty Alexander the First, emperor of Russia—all this and more, a man." Twenty-one years later, Atherton penned the biography "Rezánov and Doña Concha" on the centennial of a famed romance between the statesman and a Spanish girl, who became a nun after his death.

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A long list of works Gertrude Atherton has to her credit as a writer. She is indisputably a woman of genius. Not that her genius is distinctively feminine, though she is in matters historical a passionate partisan. Most of the critics who approve her work agree that in the main she views life with somewhat of the masculine spirit of liberality. She is as much the realist as one can be who is saturated with the romance that is California, her birthplace and her home, if such a true cosmopolite as she can be said to have a home. In all she has written there is abounding life; her grasp of character is firm; her style has a warm, glowing plasticity, frequently a rhythm variously expressive of all the wide range of feeling which a writer must have to make his or her books living things. She does no less well in the depiction of men than in the portraiture of women. All stand out of their vivid environment distinctly and they are all personalities of power even, occasionally, of "that strong power called weakness... Continue reading book >>

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