From being a princess in St Petersburg on first name terms with the Romanovs, to ending her days a committed Communist in a damp cottage in the West Country, Sofka Dolgorouky lived quite some life. Inheriting her diaries, Sofka Zinovieff at first had no idea that she would eventually feel compelled to travel to Russia and France to research and write the story of her fabled, yet highly controversial, grandmother’s life. It is a story that will have you reeling from the excesses of pre-revolutionary Russia via a stint in the French Resistance to the era of ‘free love’ bohemian London, with encounters with countless princes and duchesses in between. Fascinating though the details of the furs, palaces and pearls are, what is truly engrossing here is the resilience and sense of self of this of dispossessed and wilful princess who thought nothing of upsetting what she perceived to be the ‘Establishment’ until her dying day. This is very much a labour of love, but one that will have you gripped as if in the pages of a novel.
The Resident – review of Red Princess