Father and child reunion

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. This week, to mark Father’s Day, I’m featuring a snippet from my first Russian historical, You Cannot Kill a Swan. I wrote the scene of Mr. Lebedev reuniting with his three youngest daughters back in 1998 or 1999, and it still chokes me up every time, particularly the section with little Fyodora.

Mr. Lebedev, who later becomes female protagonist Lyuba’s stepfather, had ten daughters in his first marriage. They were all taken away by the Bolsheviks, the older ones to Siberia and the youngest ones to the orphanage system. He eventually was reunited with oldest daughter Galya, and then seventh-born Alla.

In 1920, Alla got a job in the orphanage where the three youngest had been taken, and the four of them plus a brother and sister they’re friends with eventually escaped and began making their way out of the USSR. (The boy later becomes Fyodora’s husband.) It’s now February 1921, and they’ve reached their family’s old city, Pskov.

Mr. Lebedev has just said he can’t believe four of his daughters are still alive.

“Five, Papa, five,” Natalya says. “Dora’s on the mattress over there.  She’s got whooping cough.”

Mr. Lebedev strides over on shaking legs and picks his youngest daughter up.  Fyodora stops her coughing and recognizes the father she hasn’t seen in almost four years.  She only vaguely remembers what he looks like, but she’s never forgotten he has two different-colored eyes.

“Papa, you finally came back.”

“Praise God we’re together again,” he says, his voice shaking. “Now that our family’s back together, we’re never going to be separated ever again, and I’ll spend the rest of my life smothering you with all the love and protection you were denied while we were apart.  No one will ever hurt a hair on your head again.”

Mr. Lebedev is eventually reunited with four of his other missing daughters, and finally gets a boy after he remarries Lyuba’s mother. He’s always been a good sport about being a father to so many daughters in a row.

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12 comments on “Father and child reunion

  1. Ed Hoornaert says:

    He’s a good father, and a good choice for a Father’s Day post.

    Like

  2. What a great post for father’s day!

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  3. Author Jessica E. Subject says:

    A very touching, emotion-filled reunion. Perfect for Father’s Day. 🙂

    Like

  4. A lovely reunion, although I’m sorry for the daughters that went permanently missing. But there was much happiness in the snippet!

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  5. Perfect piece for Father’s Day. Loved it.

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  6. jakerose says:

    Awesome choice for a Father’s Day post. I think I almost shed a tear haha

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  7. Jenna Jaxon says:

    Great selection for Father’s Day! Glad of this happy reunion amidst tough times.

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  8. Karen Michelle Nutt says:

    Great Father’s Day post.

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  9. *tears* Such an emotional snippet! I really hope he can keep his promise.

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  10. Perfect for fathers day!

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  11. P.T. Wyant says:

    I’m curious as to why they were taken away.

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    • Carrie-Anne says:

      It was part of the upheaval after the February 1917 revolution. They were die-hard monarchists who still supported the deposed Tsar and opposed the Provisional Government.

      Like

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