A Countess in Limbo
A Countess in Limbo Diaries in War & Revolution : Russia 1914-1920, France 1939-1947 By Hendrikoff, Olga Book - 2012

I enjoyed reading the diary entries of a female aristocratic Russian emigre who had fled Russia in her early twenties during the Russian Revolution to live in Paris among other Russian nationals like herself. She describes the lifestyle of her friends and relatives and contrasts that with herself who is unmarried and needs to work. I found her accounts of living in Paris during WWII to be particularly interesting as she describes the influx of the Belgians arriving on foot in the French countryside where she was staying, to the German Occupation, to the Liberation forces, to life in Paris in the immediate post war years, and eventually to her decision to leave Paris for Philadelphia to live with a relative. The diary entries are full of details of how she survived during those years, her work, the people she worked for, everyday incidents, the difficulty of getting food in the city but available on the black market and in the countryside, her views and those of her friends about returning to Russia, and communication with family members who were spread out Europe. It didn't bother me that the names she mentions in her diary entries were unknown to me. Quite a few footnotes provide explanatory information and a fly leaf shows her family tree to refer to in order to see the family connections. The diary,written in French and Russian, came to light after her death in Alberta where she moved to be with another family member. The translation is excellent. The whole book consists of diary entries. An engrossing read.

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