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Reapers Alexei Venetsianov 1820s As a reader of fiction, I often find myself wondering, “How did the author come up with THAT story line?”

During my initial research on Russia's  serfs, I stumbled upon the Russian Orthodox prohibition of a person marrying the child of his or her godparents.

“Hummm….interesting," I thought. "That fly-in-the-ointment might weave into an engaging story line.  It provides conflict as well as a moral choice. Plus it’s a little known fact.” 

The complication ended up being the common thread that held fast from the page 1 to page 301 of Who Is to Blame?.


Reapers. Oil-on-cavas by Alexei Venetsianov; late 1820s