Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Echoes Of Splendour

Here is a taster of my book on sale at amazon in kindle.

It is on special offer at the moment so now is the time to grab a copy if you'd like one.


I remember those days in old Russia as if they were only yesterday. It was a very different place then, for I was there before the beginning of the first revolution in 1905, and the world I saw was filled with bright colours, gaiety and laughter. Of course there was a different face to St. Petersburg from the one I knew, but I was not aware of it. My father and Johan kept me from such knowledge. How could I have dreamed of the appalling poverty and hardship in the country when I lived protected and spoiled in the house of Prince Paul Vronski, the indulged daughter of a man who was privileged to be tutor to the prince’s son?

We lived in a palace set in beautiful grounds. There were trees, flowerbeds, formal walks and a small lake where Ivan and I played sometimes with his model yacht. His father had a real one, and sometimes as a treat I was taken on the sea, and both Ivan and I wore sailor suits – mine had a skirt of course - and the crew let us help them steer the ship. Oh yes, we were fortunate in those days, the son of Prince Paul and I.

Sometimes we were both taken to the Winter Palace, where we met the Tsar’s daughters, who were polite and kind to us. The Tsarena Olga was always particularly kind to me. She once gave me a set of little wooden dolls that were graduated in size and fitted one inside the other. We never saw the Tsarevich Alexi however. There were unkind rumours in circulation amongst the people; it was said he was kept hidden away for all kinds of reasons and I only heard the truth of his terrible affliction, which had been passed down to him through his mother’s line, long after I had left Russia.

We lived in Russia for three years, Papa and I. Before that, when Maman was alive, home was a beautiful but crumbling chateau in the south of France. Mama was wholly French, and she too was very beautiful and her laughter could make my heart sing for joy. Papa was an Englishman. Everyone said he was clever, and I believe he was generally admired in Prince Vronski’s circle. To me he often seemed stern and distant, as though he was preoccupied with more important matters and had no time to notice his only child.

It was to Johan Radzinsky that I clung in those days. My dear, kind protector who watched over me and remembered all the things that Papa forgot.

Papa was always so busy. Besides being tutor to Prince Vronski’s son, he lectured occasionally at the University in Moscow. Sometimes he stayed away for several days, and there were evenings when he had long, involved meetings with serious looking men who frightened me. They all ignored me, speaking over my head in a language I could not understand.

Ivan and I spoke in French or English. I knew very few words of Russian; just enough to ask the servants for something to eat and thank them, though Ivan did his best to teach me. I was at this time inclined to be lazy. I did not wish to learn particularly and no one cared enough to teach me. I was just that pretty little girl who ran and played about the palace, of no real importance in the scheme of things. Until the day I suddenly became of use to Papa.

I could read, write and calculate. Papa had seen to my early schooling, and of course I was fluent in both French and English. Papa believed I would educate myself from his books, and in time I came to learn the treasures that lay within their covers. But at this time I was fourteen years old and interested only in amusement.

How soon my world was to turn upside down. I would be given a sharp lesson in reality, one that would change and shape my whole life. I have long wanted to tell my story for I was born to a time of great changes, of terrible tragedy and violence. The world is very different now to the one I knew then, though who can say whether those changes were for good or evil? At the time I thought them cruel and wicked.

Sometimes, when the voices crowd in on me I feel as if I am being crushed by a great weight, and the darkness is all about me. I hear their voices echoing down the years and I remember how it was…

Buy this at amazon, send me proof of purchase - through contact at the website
and I'll send you another of my Anne Ireland ebooks free

This is a romance/mystery about a girl who flees from the revolution in Russia. Parted from her friend she does nto see him until they ar older and begin to fall in love.

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