‘Charming, touching, tragic and thrilling’ (Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of The Romanovs)
Separated from her three young son, stripped of her possessions and fearing for her life, Countess Edith Sollohub found herself trapped in revolutionary Russia.
The daughter of a high ranking diplomat, Edith was destined to join the social and intellectual elite of Imperial Russia. As a child she spent the summers learning to ride and shoot on the family’s country estate; during the winter months her parents hosted lavish parties in their luxurious St Petersburg Apartment.
This privileged upbringing would ultimately help her survive the traumatic events of the 1917 revolution. This is Edith’s personal account of her escape from Russia in which she assumed new identities as a Polish refugee, a travelling musician and even a Red Army nurse. She would endure hunger, imprisonment and loneliness in the quest to be reunited with her family.
'Fascinating and beautifully written... Her book is a revelation, and one of the great memoirs from that era...' (Antony Beevor, The Sunday Times )
'A moving and thrilling story, The Russian Countess describes a world descending into chaos during war and revolution a century ago. An epic tale of hope tinged with sadness and suffering, it will keep you gripped until the final page' (Peter Frankopan, author of Silk Roads)
'Her narrative attains spiritual depth... she had the ability to write vividly and with understanding about all the many people, from very different walks of life, whom she encountered during her journey through post-revolutionary Russia' (Robert Chandler, poet and translator)
'I inhaled it. With echoes of Bunin, Sollohub captures the strange mixture of beauty and terror that was Russia in the first decades of the last century. An iridescent jewel of a book' (Douglas Smith, author of Rasputin and Former People: The Last Days of the Russian Aristocracy )
'An epic and evocative tale of courage and endurance. Edith Sollohub takes us from her privileged life in tsarist Russia through the terror and turmoil of revolution, war, separation from family, imprisonment and a final desperate flight to freedom' (Helen Rappaport, author of Caught in the Revolution and Victoria Letters )
'Distinguished by sharp observation and a strong memory for visual detail' (Barbara Heldt, The Times Literary Supplement)
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About the Author
Edith Sollohub taught herself to type in order to support herself and her sons in their one-room apartment in Paris. She typed some of her account of her life in Russia in snatched moments, and added to these in later life. The manuscript of The Russian Countess was left to her youngest son and daughter-in-law after her death in 1965, who lovingly deciphered the handwritten notes, edited the text and unearthed photographs to ensure that her wish – that her memoirs might one day be published – be fulfilled.