WINNER OF INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER “IPPY” BRONZE MEDAL 2020
A Literary Masterpiece that waited over 200 years to be discovered!
Replete with historically unique insights of a sensitive young woman involuntarily caught up in violent personal and political turmoil, this authentic diary reads like a mystery novel.
Countess Anna’s viewpoint is refreshingly naïve and down-to-earth, despite her status of noblewoman. Regardless of the significant time gap, it confronts such current vital issues as rape, murder, war, unplanned pregnancy, religious differences, blatant social inequality, fleeing from disaster, women’s rights, patriotism, forced confinement, betrayal… thus linking this bygone era in Poland with the world everywhere today.
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Dive into the Story
The characters in The Diary of Countess Anna Berezowska, be they farmers, servants, millworkers, farmhands, aristocrats… come alive in vivid detail. Anna’s candid descriptions of a peasant clan and of servants’ conversations are historically unique. She poignantly describes her personal turmoils, which parallel those of her beloved country.
Anna’s outrageous cousin, Sophia, reacts to situations differently. She seduces the most influential men of her time in order to gain protection and favors, as glimpses into her erotic diary reveal.
Anna and Sophia, each a strong and resilient woman, cope very diversely with the final full capitulation of their country.
A Story About:
A savage ambush in a raging blizzard; a woman caught captive under a burning barn; the murder of a brutal marauder; a carriage crushing people going over a burning bridge in its escape from enemy assault, and more.
The tender, enduring love between Anna and John, put through bitter trials — a false rape and murder acccusation, her seductive cousin’s rivalry, forced separation, John’s departure for war…
Downfall of a Nation
Horrendous scenes of violence and bloodshed when Polish patriots rise up against Russian forces under Catherine “The Great” and Poland loses its identity for 123 years!
Meet the Protagonists
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Portrait of a Woman by Anna Rajecka
Countess Anna Berezowska
The only child of wealthy farmers who owned land and mills, she loses both parents at the age of 16 or 17 and is taken in by her aunt, Countess Stella Gronska. This picture seems to us how Anna would have looked once she learned to dress and carry herself like a true aristocrat.
Early on in the book, Anna is rudely ripped out of her comfortable cocoon and brutally violated, as is her beloved country. Her own tormented life parallels the violent social upheavals occuring in Poland in 1791-1795. It’s astounding that she was in the middle of them, and that she and her writings survived.
The painter of this portrait was a contemporary of Anna’s. We think she ought to be better known.
Contessa Sophia Gronska
Anna’s independent and unconventional cousin, so unlike her mother, the Countess Stella Gronska. Sophia uses her beauty and cunning wit to seduce powerful men of whichever side is winning to gain favors and protection for herself, her mother, and Anna.
However, all this sex is not to her dislike (!) as we can see in juicy tidbits from her own diary, My Delights, and the way Anna describes the wild parties that Sophia hosts.
This picture, snapped from a photo in a Paris métro station, shows how we imagine Sophia the way Anna describes her. May the artist kindly come forth!
Countess Stella Gronska
The belle of the ball in her younger days, she becomes rigid and embittered over her children’s shameful behavior, her husband’s disappearance, the demise of the aristocratic order she always knew.
She prefers her niece, Anna, to her own daughter, Sophia. She reads the news and comes to secretly sympathizes with Polish patriots more than with the established nobility she belongs to.
We think this portrait of a noblewoman expresses Stella’s severity, depth, and intelligence.
Count John Stelnicki
Although painted somewhat before his time, this could have been the young Count in aristocratic attire and wearing a wig as was the fashion among the nobility. However, John gave up his title of Count in order to fight against the Russian-Prussian invaders for the causes of independence and democracy.
His forbidden love for Anna remains steadfast throughout long periods of separation, restriction, and war. Will they ever reunite?
This painting has its own intense story. It was looted from the National Museum in Poland by the Nazis in 1944 and only recently returned to its rightful owners.
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