Teddington author Molly Gartland has launched her debut novel, The Girl from the Hermitage in e-book format. Paperback to launch later in the year.
The novel opens in December 1941, where eight-year-old Galina is caught in the siege of Leningrad, eating soup made of wallpaper. Galina’s artist father Mikhail has been kept away from the front to help save the treasures of the Hermitage. Its cellars could now provide a safe haven, provided Mikhail can navigate the perils of a portrait commission from one of Stalin’s colonels.
Nearly forty years later, a celebratory weekend at Galina’s forest dacha turns sour when she makes an unwelcome discovery. A painting she embarks upon that day will hold a grim significance for the rest of her life, as the old Soviet Union makes way for the new Russia and her familiar world changes out of all recognition. Warm, wise and enthralling, Gartland’s debut novel guides us from the old communist world, with its obvious terrors and more surprising comforts, into the glitz of 21st-century St Petersburg. Galina’s story is an insightful meditation on ageing and nostalgia as well as a compelling page-turner.
Gartland started writing the novel in a Beginning Creative Writing course at RHACC. She completed the First Novel MA at St. Mary’s University, Twickenham. www.mollygartland.com