Recently I`ve read a very interesting book that impressed me greatly. It was the novel by Vera Kryzhanovskaya “Hellish charms”. Russian writer and spiritualist Vera Kryzhanovskaya was the first woman writer of science fiction in the world, and the first professional science fiction writer in Russia.
She was born June 2, 1857 .Her Father was from an old noble family of the Tambov Province. In the 1880s and 90s she lived in Western Europe. Since childhood Kryzhanovskaya was interested in ancient history and the occult, she even performed as a medium at sessions. Kryzhanovskaya`s Husband was a well known spiritualist S.V. Semenov.
Following the spiritualists` tradition, Kryzhanovskaya stated that her novels had been dictated by the spirit of English poet John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester , who believed that a soul stayed on earth even after death . She wrote in French and then her works were translated into Russian.
The main theme of her novels is the struggle of the divine and satanic forces, the dependence of man`s hidden forces and the forces of universe, the secrets of the primordial matter … Reincarnation`s consciousness` and soul`s secrets , the writer has already disclosed in the historical novels (“The Queen Hatasu”, for example).
“Hellish charms” is one of the novels, where the ritual of bewitching is described. The headline reveals the main theme and idea of the novel. The story is about a girl who wanted to marry the man with good fortune and because of it she had to resort to black magic.It`s about love, sins and mistakes, about forgiveness. The book electrifies the reader, mystical experiences and psychology do not give an opportunity to relax.
The moral of the story is represented very clearly: you can not build your happiness on the misfortune of others, regardless of other people’s desires. Each undertaken sin may be the first step on way to hell, and not everybody can turn away from that road.
The book is written in a very simple way, the sentences are mostly short, without large clauses and nominative constructions. The author worries about every character and describes all their sufferings and other feelings very brightly.
The main characters are:
Kira Nagorskaya, a pretty blond girl of twenty with a good figure , large dark eyes with long thick eyelashes and wonderful complexion;
Alexey Basargin – a wealthy young man, who took a fancy to Kira especially her coquetry and beauty. He became a frequent guest in Kira`s place. Kira considered him to be a wonderful match.
Maleynen – an old witch, who helped Kira to bewitch Alexey and made him to fall in love with her. She was a skinny tall woman with deep hollow eyes that strangely sparkled.
Marquise Kervadek – Alexey`s best friend, a tall, slender young man with black curly hair and pointed beard. He is a very passionate character and didn`t hide his admiration from Kira.
Shepsu – an unusual character, Circassian, who lived alone in a mountain hut. The only man, who was able to save Kira from her curse.
The story took place in Russia in the 18th century. A young woman Kira Nagorskaya who got used to luxury, after running through her father`s fortune, decided to marry someone didn`t matter young or old , beautiful or ugly, tall or short, someone who was able to give her a social status and wealth. But one day in a house of one of her old friends she got acquainted with Alexey Basargin a young man ,who has already worked in Ministry. She liked him and even thought not to cheat on him, at least for a while, when they would marry. Alexey became a frequent guest in Kira`s place and she was ready to celebrate the victory but suddenly he disappeared.
There were rumors that he was going to marry another girl, Kira felt miserable and angry. She couldn`t believe it. Than she got to know about an old woman, a witch called Maleynen, and decided to ask her for help. But this decision took an unexpected turn for her. Basargin made her a proposal and she married him. In the course of time she began to feel disgust and irritation to him. She also fell in love with Alexey`s best friend Marquise Kervadek but tried to hidу her feelings. She knew that if she would like to divorce with Basargin, the charms would make him kill her. She couldn`t fight against her feelings and went to Maleynen again to ruin the first spell. But it has worked strangely and Alexey perished and his spirit began to pursue Kira.
Kervadek and Kira try to find the solution, Marquise takes Kira away to Germany, Italy, France but the ghost chases them. At least they find the man called Shepsu, the only one who can save her. He was a young Circassian, who lived alone in a mountain hut in the Caucasus. Having held all the rituals Shepsu was able to conquer the evil spirit of Basargin. At last the curse was ruined.
In conclusion, I personally would like to advise this novel and not just this one but the others too. In my opinion it was one of the best books I`ve ever read, it`s plot has swallowed me completely. Most of all I liked it`s moral : Love can neither be bought nor sold.