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Behind the Scenes: Kholodov's Last Mistress

I’ve been been wanting to write a Russian hero for awhile, and Sergei Kholodov came to me after my sister and her children spent a month helping at an orphanage in Russia. There are so many stories of heartbreak and hope in these orphanages: children who are abandoned and neglected, and also carers who attempt to give these sorry children as much love as they can, all within a huge, creaking system that labours on and on. I also was thinking about innocence, and when innocence is about purity and when it’s just naiveté. My heroine Hannah goes through a major transformation in this book, and Sergei has to figure out if he loves the Hannah he first met in Moscow, or the woman she’s become a year later. It’s always interesting to me how I keep coming back to themes but in different ways, and this book felt like a bit of a change.


Red Square, where Sergei first meets Hannah--and watches her being pickpocketed!


Tolstoy’s estate two hours south of Moscow, where I based Sergei’s country estate


The small town in the Adirondacks that I drove through on my way to college;
Hannah’s town of Hadley Springs is loosely based on it.

January 2008