Author Topic: Once I Had a Home by Nadejda  (Read 3468 times)

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Offline newfan

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Once I Had a Home by Nadejda
« on: February 02, 2010, 01:37:00 AM »
Who was this person who wrote the book?It says that she was lady in waiting to the Empress.
I have search but not much is writ en about here .Her book talks about her family life in Yalta before departing for exile .Her name maybe was Marchioness Falise Maureen de Verdières ?

Offline s.v.markov

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Re: Once I Had a Home by Nadejda
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2010, 12:58:10 PM »
'Once I Had A Home', The Diary and Narrative of Nadejda, Lady of Honour to Their Imperial Majesties The Late Empress Alexandra Feodorovna And The Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia, published October 1926 by Duckworth (London), with a 2nd impression March 1927. 320 pages, no illustrations.

Yes, her real name was Marchioness Felise Maureen de Verdieres, only child of an Imperial Guard officer. Most of the names of people in her memoirs are also changed 'to secure the safety of those still in the danger zone, to respect the privacy of certain relatives...and to preserve the incognito of some of the living characters'. This of course limits its value as an historical document, but it is still a useful account of how the two revolutions of 1917 affected members of the aristocracy and effectively destroyed their way of life. The author is by turns angry, romantic, gossipy and bitter in her descriptions, but she is always sincere and her love of Russia is clear at all times. Her final description of the 'lonely, black-robed figure, dignified and sorrowful' of the Dowager Empress on board 'Marlborough' is quite powerful.

The book is quite hard to find now, but worth the trouble.


Offline newfan

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Re: Once I Had a Home by Nadejda
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2010, 05:25:53 PM »
Hi
I just finish reading it ,and have to agree...if she used real name of the people it would of be great read,but no matter what her narrative of life in Crimea is great
What happen to her and her family once they left.Her story finishes on her way from Russia?

Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Once I Had a Home by Nadejda
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2011, 12:08:32 PM »
'Once I Had A Home', The Diary and Narrative of Nadejda, Lady of Honour to Their Imperial Majesties The Late Empress Alexandra Feodorovna And The Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia, published October 1926 by Duckworth (London), with a 2nd impression March 1927. 320 pages, no illustrations.

Yes, her real name was Marchioness Felise Maureen de Verdieres, only child of an Imperial Guard officer. Most of the names of people in her memoirs are also changed 'to secure the safety of those still in the danger zone, to respect the privacy of certain relatives...and to preserve the incognito of some of the living characters'. This of course limits its value as an historical document, but it is still a useful account of how the two revolutions of 1917 affected members of the aristocracy and effectively destroyed their way of life. The author is by turns angry, romantic, gossipy and bitter in her descriptions, but she is always sincere and her love of Russia is clear at all times. Her final description of the 'lonely, black-robed figure, dignified and sorrowful' of the Dowager Empress on board 'Marlborough' is quite powerful.

The book is quite hard to find now, but worth the trouble.



Felise (though her birth name was Phyllis) de Verdieres was actually the daughter of a British artist named Gotch. It is the pseudonymous author "Nadejda" I guess who claims to be daughter of a Guards officer. Your post showed up as part of an investigation by a name authority cataloguer who referred this query to me - at least the second time that one of my colleagues has chanced across this forum in answering reference or other queries. :-)
Greg King and I have both examined this book over the last couple of days; I would go so far as to say that it is fiction, because there's no doubt that Phyllis Maureen Gotch wrote it - her entry in Women's Who Who for some date in the 30s lays claim to it, hence it was attributed this way in a note on the British Museum catalogue as well, despite the title page.

I don't know if you have any contrary info indicating that the book is genuinely a memoir which Gotch ghosted or something similar (?), but thought you would be interested to hear about the way that your old post showed up.....Certainly, the plethora of remembered conversation in the book would lead one to consider it fiction, or, at best, heavily fictionalized. It has a strongly anti-Bolshevik agenda.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2011, 12:11:08 PM by Janet Ashton »
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many; they are few.

Offline s.v.markov

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Re: Once I Had a Home by Nadejda
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2011, 04:27:19 AM »
Thank you for that. No, I have no evidence to support its being a genuine memoir, and having looked at it again over the weekend, I agree with you that it should be assigned to the 'fictional' category, together with Mouchanow etc. I found a copy many years ago when I was compiling a bibliography of memoirs of late Imperial Russia published in English or translated into English. I remember then being surprised by the strength of the anti-Communist language, even in the opening prologue 'To the Men and Women of the British Empire' ! Parts of the book read like a romantic novel ~  'Zizie Engel is a lovely girl ~ a white and golden blonde, with gentle manners and big, trusting blue eyes...' and so on!! (p.46). I was unware of Phyllis Gotch ~ thank you for clearing that up. The bibliography I referred to runs to some 50 or so titles by contemporaries, but I am sure you would be able to add to it. I'll PM you with more details.