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The Girl from the Hermitage

by Molly Gartland

The Girl from the Hermitage Synopsis

It is December 1941, and eight-year-old Galina and her friend Vera are caught in the siege of Leningrad, eating wallpaper soup and dead rats. Galina's artist father Mikhail has been kept away from the front to help save the treasures of the Hermitage. Its cellars could provide a safe haven, as long as Mikhail can survive the perils of a commission from one of Stalin's colonels. Three decades on, Galina is a teacher at the Leningrad Art Institute. What ought to be a celebratory weekend at her forest dacha turns sour when she makes an unwelcome discovery. The painting she starts that day will hold a grim significance for the rest of her life, as the old Soviet Union makes way for the new Russia and her world changes out of all recognition. Warm, wise and utterly enthralling, Molly Gartland's debut novel guides us from the old communist era, with its obvious terrors and its more surprising comforts, into the bling of 21st-century St Petersburg. Galina's story is an insightful meditation on ageing and nostalgia as well as a compelling page-turner.

The Girl from the Hermitage Press Reviews

'An author who has a clear talent for parlaying careful research into a credible sense of time and place, she has provided a a fine addition to the rich genre of historical fiction set in St. Petersburg' - Moscow Times, 'Sweeps its heroine from surviving on soup made from wallpaper in 40s Leningrad to the bling of 21st-century St Peterburg. Recommended' - Waitrose Weekend, 'Characters are sketched sensitively with the same fragility as their existence. Galina's story considers the reality of ageing and the value of nostalgia. Elegantly written, enthralling read' - Yorkshire Times, 'Stunning... Here is human survival in every form. This is an extraordinarily well-written book for a debut' - Historical Novels Review

Book Information

ISBN: 9781785631887
Publication date: 1st September 2020
Author: Molly Gartland
Publisher: Lightning Books an imprint of Eye Books
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 288 pages
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Historical fiction,

About Molly Gartland

Originally from Michigan, Molly Gartland worked in Moscow from 1994 to 2000 and has been fascinated by Russian culture ever since. She has an MA in Creative Writing from St Mary's University, Twickenham and lives in London. The manuscript for her debut novel The Girl from the Hermitage was shortlisted for the Impress Prize and longlisted for the Mslexia Novel Competition, the Bath Novel Award and Grindstone Novel Award.

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