WeWriWa—Meet Lyuba and Katrin


Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors, a weekly Sunday hop where writers share 8 sentences from a book or WIP.  I’m now sharing from the opening of my first Russian historical, You Cannot Kill a Swan: The Love Story of Lyuba and Ivan (available for pre-order here).

Finally, a bit over two pages in, we really meet Lyuba, Ivan’s best friend and now-ex-girlfriend. We also meet the third of the three girls who just moved from Estonia, Katariina Nikonova (Katrin). I always have so much fun writing Katrin, and particularly enjoyed turning her from girl to woman in the first book, someone who really lives her political beliefs and gives up childish things.

The Estonian accent really is just as I’ve described it, though many Russians mock it for its sing-songishness. It’s a beautiful language, with a beautiful accent. Starting in 1869, the Estonians sang for their freedom from Russia, and still love singing today, so it’s no surprise there’s such a musical lilt in their accent.


Lyuba boards the tram near the end of the line, and loudly curses when she sees all the seats are taken. Having little choice, she grabs the rail and finds herself standing next to the third Estonian girl. The first thing she notices about the girl is her short blonde hair. Her short hairstyle isn’t even feminine like the American dancer Irene Castle or the French actress Polaire, but cropped as short as a man’s, with nary a hair accessory like hair clips or a bandeau. It looks so modern next to Lyuba’s mane of hair flowing past her knees.

“I’m Lyubóv Leontiyevna Zhúkova. What’s your name?”

She looks up at Lyuba with piercing green eyes, and begins speaking with the most beautiful accent Lyuba has ever heard, a soft, singsongy lilt which blends sadness, poetry, and music.

Irene Castle



10 comments on “WeWriWa—Meet Lyuba and Katrin

  1. Sarah W says:

    I’ve heard Estonian accents—we had exchange students in the music department at college—and I can’t imagine anyone mocking them!

    The descriptions here are perfect, Carrie-Anne. I can just picture Katrin. 🙂


  2. I always enjoy the tidbits of history, from a time and place I’d never known much about at all. This was an easy excerpt to visualize, nicely done!


  3. I love your description of her accent. Well done.


  4. This is just beautiful. Your descriptions are like poetry. Can’t wait to read more of your work.


  5. This excerpt has a coming of age feel to it, Carrie-Anne. And I echo the sentiments of the other comments. A wonderful glimpse of another place and time. Bravo on writing foreign cultures so well! 🙂


  6. The girls are clearly quite different.


  7. caitlinstern says:

    Doesn’t sound as if she approves of that haircut! But that accent sounds lovely.


  8. burnsmillie says:

    Always wonderful bits of history to absorb from you Carrie-Anne. Nice job describing her accent as well. Makes her seem vulnerable.


  9. Whew! I bet those special characters were fun to format in the e-book. 😉 Best of luck with the pre-order!


  10. I am in love with her voice!


Share your thoughts respectfully

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s