Russian at Heart

Born into the Crimean gentry, young Sonechka Balk is left orphaned and destitute by the Russian Revolution that destroys her idyllic life. In 1924, aged just 19, she flees to Shanghai, one of 30,000 White Russian diaspora seeking refuge from the Bolsheviks . Surviving some of the 20th century’s greatest upheavals, she finds love in war-torn Shanghai and eventually refuge for her family in America. More

Available formats: epub

About Olga Hawkes

Russian at Heart is co-authored by Olga and John Hawkes. Aged five, Olga fled Shanghai for America in 1948 with Sonechka, her widowed mother, and sister. Olga was educated there, then went to Europe. In Paris she met and married John Hawkes, a New Zealand doctor, in 1962. For thirty years they lived in the south east of England where John was a consultant rheumatologist. They now live in Auckland, New Zealand.

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Russian at Heart: Sonechka's Story
Russian at Heart is the true story of my mother, Sonechka. Orphaned and destitute at thirteen she survived the horrors of the Russian Civil War and several years living under the Bolshevik regime. Having fled from Moscow to China in 1924, Sonechka became stranded in civil war-torn Shanghai. Sonechka's remarkable resourcefulness enabled her, and her family, to survive.

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