From Newbury with Love: Letters of Friendship Across the Iron Curtain
'I am very grateful to you for your kind wishes of a happy birthday for me and I wish you as well, good health and every success in your activities. I am a first class schoolgirl. I learn ballet and study English. And what are you?' In 1971 an elderly English bookseller, Harold Edwards, chanced upon a list of names printed by Amnesty International as part of a letter-writing campaign. It gave details of families of Soviet political prisoners who needed support. Harold had travelled to St Petersburg in his youth and remained passionate about Russian literature, and wrote to the Aidovs because the daughter, Marina, aged 7, had a birthday on the day before his. This was the beginning of a correspondence between the Aidov family and Harold and his wife Olive that changed the course of all of their lives. The letters are written with immense humanity, understanding and affection, and kept Marina's mother, Lera, from utter despair. The collection shows the power of a single family to make a difference to lives on the other side of the world.
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