Author(s): Eugenie Fraser
A unique and moving account of life in Russia before, during and immediately after the Revolution, The House by the Dvina is the fascinating story of two families, separated in culture and geography, but bound together by a Russian-Scottish marriage. It includes episodes as romantic and dramatic as any in fiction: the purchase by the author's great-grandfather of a peasant girl with whom he had fallen in love; the desperate journey by sledge in the depths of winter made by her grandmother to intercede with Tsar Aleksandr II for her husband; and the extraordinary courtship of her parents. Eugenie Fraser herself was brought up in Russia but was taken on visits to Scotland. She marvellously evokes the reactions of a child to two different environments, sets of customs and family backgrounds.
With the events of 1914 to 1920 - the war with Germany, the Revolution, the murder of the Tsar, the withdrawal of the Allied Intervention in the north - came the disintegration of the country and of family life. The stark realities of hunger, deprivation and fear are sharply contrasted with the day-to-day experiences, joys, frustrations and adventures of childhood. The reader shares the family's suspense and concern about the fates of its members, and relives with Eugenie her final escape to Scotland.