The story of how this book came to be is as interesting as the book itself. Just before her death in 2004, a Tennessee housewife of East European descent revealed her long-hidden past to her husband of fifty years. From the time she was a young girl, growing up in 1930’s Ukraine, Nonna Lisowskaya kept a diary. As a child, she lived a charmed life, part of a wealthy family that had managed to keep most of its property in spite of the Communist revolution.
While millions of Ukrainians starved to death, Nonna’s family celebrated a magical Christmas on a beautiful estate, a memory that would sustain her through some terrible times. When the Germans invaded, Nonna’s parents elected not to flee, which kept them alive a bit longer. Much of the rest of her extended family was killed when the retreating Soviet army blew up their own trains headed east, carrying refugees. Her teenage brother had been sent to university in St. Petersburg and was never seen again. Continue reading