We are thrilled to present a generational saga by Lara Prodan, spanning the period of time from 1918 to present day and following the main characters – descendants of a noble Russian family – in Russia and America. With a mystery of a family photo in the center of it, the novel will take you on an exciting ride through history and turbulent events of the last century that affected so many people on all continents. The book is available in both Russian and English (including the Kindle version) on Amazon. You may find these reviews helpful to learn more about the novel from the people who already read it. And more information about the book is available on the author’s website.
In the excerpt below, Vladimir, a young Microsoft trainee from Russia, discovers an old photo while visiting his new friend’s parents, Alex and Melinda. In the photo, he recognizes his mother’s neighbor, but in strange clothes. Alex assures him that could not be the case because the photo was taken over 90 years ago. Vladimir takes interest in a second photo as well, a portrait of the entire family of the Ukhtomsky princes. These photos were carefully preserved by Alex’s great-grandfather who had left the revolutionary Russia in 1918. The great-grandfather’s two brothers stayed in Russia. Why did Alex and Melinda never show the photographs to their daughter Darya, why did they hide their origins from her and what became of those who were in the picture and their descendants? – These are the questions, to which Vladimir and Darya are determined to find answers. For this purpose, they travel to Russia and start their quest. They will experience great love and disappointment, cruelty and kindness, loyalty and betrayal.
Suddenly, without warning or knocking, Darya ran into the study. Her face was flaming and her eyes were glowing with an unusual inner light. In her hands, she held a photo. It depicted a young woman in her twenties, wearing an elegant ball dress from Jeanne Paquin, a well-known French fashion designer in the early 20th Century. The woman had a gorgeous difficult hairstyle, and she wore an antique emerald necklace. Darya’s lips were trembling and hundreds of questions were about to burst out of them. Darya ran up to her father, and, with a vibrating anxious voice, asked, ‘Dad, dad, who is this girl?’
‘Darya, honey, where did you find this photo?’ asked Alex in a quiet, yet concerned voice. ‘And why are you so interested in it?’
‘It’s not me, who is interested. It’s Vladimir. I was showing him our family photo album,’ Darya replied. ‘He assured me that he knows this woman. Vladimir is convinced that it’s her mother’s neighbor, except she is strangely dressed.’
‘It’s impossible, honey. This photo is over ninety years old. Ninety five, to be precise. It is a photo of you great grandfather’s sister, Princess Elisabeth Ukhtomsky. In 1912, Lisa married to Prince Vikhulev Igor Dmitrievich, and went to live in his manor. It just so happened that nobody ever heard anything about her ever again. So it’s highly unlikely that Vladimir ever saw her, or even knew her. My great grandfather took it from Russia in 1918. He valued it a lot, and he said that it contains the history of our kin…’
Darya was astonished by what she heard. She looked lost, and her eyes were a mixture of amazement and curiosity. She wasn’t sure how to react to her father’s confession. Darya was wrestled by the questions: why has her father never told her about their family, and why has never wondered about her family roots? In the evenings, when their family would gather together, they discussed everything: work, university, plans for the weekend and for the holidays, books, movies, concerts and so on, but her father never said anything about their family. Darya never met Alex’s parents, as they passed away long before she was born. She never met her mother’s parents either. Darya grew up without grandparents and it was natural for her. Her parents didn’t like to go through old photo albums, and she never expressed any desire to look at them.