I found this enchanting reading. It is a great love story, but it is far more, for in these pages, drawn from the ""commonplace books"" kept by the author's grandmother, in her letters, her journals and the marginalia of her Bible, one finds recreated the ""far country"" she traversed, in place and time. The greater part of the 19th century compassed her life; English-born, and living a strange sort of life, with a father who thought that fate had bequeathed an income to him and who provided not at all for his family; with a mother who was an invalid; with sisters and brothers so much older that they seemed another family- and one sister and one brother who were close, Ellen met and married a Russian, owner of vast estates, a literary man. It was a love match, and through the ups and downs of incredible wealth and the depth of poverty, they were rich in their love, their shared interests, their family. The story, as it goes from England to Russia, back and forth across the Continent, is told against successive wars and perils from war and revolution. The incidents, drawn from primary sources, are hauntingly real, there's magic in the telling, and the people come into your mind and heart. It is a book one longs to share with an appreciative audience.