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Liz F

We have a copy of this in our County Library reserve - I checked when you first mentioned it but didn't request it then because I am trying to cut down on library books to try and make some in-roads on my TBR mountain range.
Having read this post, I am going to head straight over to the library catalogue and request it forthwith!


This sounds wonderful and exactly the sort of thing that publishing exists in order to do - to give us glimpses into the real lives of people living in troubled times and difficult conditions. Giving a voice to people and situations that we might never know about otherwise is one of the most important things books can do, I think. I found your post extremely moving.


It's an amazing and really moving story. Imagine, just one postcard and a life time full of friendship follows.
I'd be very interested to know about the life, their difficulties.


Oh this sounds fantastic! None of my local libraries have it either. I will have to ILL it or buy it. Hmm, probably one I will want to buy. :)


This ticked most of the boxes for me too! Sounds like one I'll have to hunt down, since there's no chance of me borrowing it from anywhere.
Thanks for sharing! :)


This sounds like a reading journey I must take someday soon. It doesn't seem to be in interlibrary loan system, but, one only needs to ask and see what happens.

I was a child and teenager during the years of Kruschev. It seemed so terrible and daunting a time from here. Later, as an adult, Tom worked with and befriended a man, Gabriel, who spent seven years in a Soviet camp for distributing literature while studying for the priesthood.

I never knew of this letter writing endeavor. How it must have eased the lives in a small way for many. This was a wonderful post and a book I will seek.


Liz--I really enjoyed this and think it is a worthy read--so glad you are going to request it. It was absolutely fascinating reading the letters and getting a peek at life inside the USSR at that time. Do let me know what you think when you get to it.

Litlove--It is extremely well done and very sympathetically presented. Both families are/were so interesting and it's amazing to learn about how these letters back and forth sort of guided and saved the Aidovas in many ways. It's an incredible story.

Caroline--Yes, one little postcard. I imagine at the time the Edwardses didn't realize what an impact they were making--though it worked both ways. Both families were so generous --and the Aidovas in a difficult position. I'm curious about them now, though Marina studied English and is now a translator and as you see helped edit the book. Reading it was really very moving.

Stefanie--I want to own it as well. It's not just the bookishness that is appealing--though that is a big part of what I liked. I think being a letter writer you would appreciate it even more--I know I did! :)

Michelle--I'm not sure how many copies are floating around out there--if there are used copies perhaps, but it is well worth owning. It's a book that should really be better known--I only stumbled across it by accident!

Penny--Definitely ask your ILL department--mine found a copy at a library willing to loan it. I work in a university library, but I think we borrowed a copy from a public library. I've always been intrigued by Russia/USSR--and curious what life was like behind the curtain--such an entirely different world than what we are used to. Those camps were really awful--Stalin put so many people in them--it's shocking to think about--just wanting to publish books or articles questioning the government was enough to be sent to prison--that seems so very foreign to me. I do hope you find a copy to borrow!


I'm adding this one to my list. It looks terrific. Thanks!


What a touching and marvelous book. It fulfills one of the things that I think reading does: help us to understand and empathize with people who are not like us. Thanks for sharing.

Margaret Powling

This sounds wonderful, would also make a wonderful film, a bit like 84 Charing Cross Road, but even more poignant. This sounds just my kind of thing, because it's not about politics but friendship and how it can transcend political divides.


Ted--I'm glad. I thought this was well done and really deserves to be better known as I am sure many other readers would appreciate it as much as I did.

Kathy--I think books do have the ability to open up worlds, and a well done book does indeed teach us empathy--that's one of the reasons I love reading.

Margaret--It reminded me a lot of 84 Charing Cross! It was in its way a charming book as well, though perhaps even more substantial than the Hanff. And yes it does transcend political boundaries. Harold Edwards had no desire to talk about politics and the Aidovas, due to the nature of where and how they lived, simply couldn't. But there was still so much they did write about and may commonalities despite the distance that separated them.

Jennifer Dee

After reading your blog I purchased this book off Amazon and it has just arrived. Really looking forward to this read.


Jennifer--I really enjoyed it--it was fascinating to me--a peek inside a country I've always been curious about. I hope you like it, too. Please do let me know how you get on with it as well! :)


Letter writing is such a lost art and I love that these people from such different worlds were connected through letters. This is definitely a book that I would add to my list.


Kathleen--I agree. There is so much you can get out of a letter--reading one or writing one. It's a pity that so few people writer letters anymore. I love getting a card or letter in the mail-it makes my day. I thoroughly enjoyed this book--it's well worth looking for!

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