Publishers Weekly, 1988-05-13 In this memoir, the author recreates her young years in the ``lost world'' of an Eastern Europe between two world wars, opening when she and her brother Paul were taken from St. Petersburg by their father, Ioann von Benckendorff, to live with him on his estate in the Estonian countryside. Loyal to the tsar, he was to die in the Russian Revolution and the children left to the care of relatives and their Irish nurse. Their mother, Moura, who chose to remain in Russia, emerges as a manipulative woman, even though Alexander discusses her affectionately and uncritically. Planning to desert her family to take up with a British agent, who then jilted her, Moura became the lover of Maxim Gorky and, later in London, of H. G. Wells. The author has fond memories of a summer spent in Sorrento with Gorky, and of the notes he wrote her, which are reprinted here. The book ends with accounts of the Alexander's emigration to England, her career in publishing and domestic life as a wife, mother and grandmother. Photos not seen by PW. (June)
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