The diary of a sixteen-year-old servant in the household of the last Tsar of Russia. The illegitimate child of a Duke, she enjoys the luxury of life with the royal family, but not their love. When the revolution takes hold, everything will change, but who will survive?
Tension builds in the palace as events sweep the family to their doom. She is with them when they are sent into exile, and when they are held by the new Red Army.
Natalie candidly reveals her own longings, friendships, sexual awakenings and loves, the men, the women, and the tall stranger who captures her heart and shares her bed.
The diary of a sixteen-year-old servant in the household of the last Tsar of Russia.
Natalie has a secret past and a dangerous future. The illegitimate daughter of a Duke, she enjoys the luxury of life with the royal family, but not their love. When the revolution takes hold, everything will change, but who will survive?
She witnesses the courage and fortitude of the women of the palace as conditions relentlessly decline and their predicament becomes ever more perilous. Tension builds as events sweep the family to their doom. She is with them when they are sent into exile, and when they are held under arrest by the new Red Army.
As she observes, so she also candidly reveals her own longings, friendships, sexual awakenings and loves, the men, the women, and the tall stranger who captures her heart and shares her bed.
“I was standing in the corner over by the big doors through to the dining hall, watching the dancing, swaying to the music, totally absorbed in the occasion. I loved the colour, the beautiful gowns, the smart uniforms of the men, and the glitter of the chandeliers, picked up and scattered by the mirrors.
“I had been so engrossed in watching the dancers sweeping past me just a few feet away, that I did not see him at first. Then I became aware that someone was standing still in my line of vision, and I looked up to see who it was. He was standing quite close, looking directly at me, with a faint smile on his lips.
“He was about my height, a bit older than me, and very good looking, with neat blonde hair and a shadow of a moustache under his nose. He was dressed in a dark blue military dress uniform, which suited him very well. He bowed, and asked me to dance.”
“I was surprised, and looked quickly around me in case he was really addressing someone else, but there was no-one nearby. I stammered that I was not royalty, just a Maid, and he smiled and said that it didn't matter to him, I was the most beautiful girl there, and he wanted to dance with me.”
My mind filled again with the sights and sounds of that night. I was embarrassed that I was a bad dancer, because I never have the opportunity to practice, and I said as much to him. “Do not worry,” he replied gently, “I will not tax you.” And he held out his hand to me. When I took it, I felt a tingle in my fingers; it was the first time my hand had touched a man's, and it was a nice feeling.
He walked me to the dance floor, smiling at me, looking straight into my eyes in a disturbingly frank way. “Just relax and follow my lead,” he said, and we danced. It was a magical moment, like a dream come true. He gently guided me around the floor. I scarcely noticed that I was dancing; it was like floating in a warm bath, my movements seemed to happen without my control.
And we talked. He was attentive; he asked my name, and said it was a lovely name. He asked me about myself. What is more, he listened to my answers and responded with sensitive comments. In turn, I asked him his name.
“He said his name was Frederick,” I continued to Tatiana, “and he was from Sweden; his father was some duke, close to the Swedish royal family, and he was a cadet in their Navy.”
“I know the family,” commented Tatiana, “I think I met Frederick once.”
“Ah, good; I knew nothing about him until he told me. His voice was soft and cultured, with a fascinating accent that was both lyrical and sexy. I found his company delightful and felt completely comfortable with him. It was as though we had known each other for years, but needed to catch up with what had happened in each other's lives.
“We talked about so many things that the time passed quickly, and I was surprised when the dance ended. He walked me back to where he had found me, and we found two vacant chairs and sat for a little while talking some more. He asked if he may write to me, and of course I said yes. But then his mother suddenly arrived and, with a glare at me, told him to return to his family. I found that he had been holding my hand the whole time; he gently released it and, with a last, tender smile at me, stood and followed his mother. Then he was gone, and I returned, alone again, to my little corner, floating on a cloud.”