SAN LUIS OBISPO - The Princess Diaries was fiction, but a new book about a real-life princess who lived in San Luis Obispo will soon be published.
In the final stages of publishing by the Cal Poly Graphic Communication Institute (GrCI), "She Cried for mother Russia: A Princess in San Luis Obispo" tells the story of Tatiana Volkonsky, a Russian princess and long-time San Luis Obispo resident, who passed away in 1988, never publicly revealing secrets of her past.
The author, Friedl E. Semans Bell, a close friend and neighbor of Tatiana, chronicles the princess's harrowing escape from the brutal Bolsheviks after the 1917 revolution and her subsequent life in Central California.
The book and story also have ties to Cal Poly. The princess's younger son, Alec Kelley, graduated from Cal Poly. And the author's father, Hubert Semans, was the first dean of humanities on campus.
An initial limited edition run of 1,500 copies is being printed of the 200-page book, which includes 21 photographs.
It will be unveiled at the San Luis Obispo Book Festival on October 4, 2009.
Sale proceeds will benefit the San Luis Obispo Historical Society and the Graphic Communication and English Departments' educational programs at Cal Poly.
The price is $21.95 plus tax and shipping. To reserve a copy, call GrCI Program Manager Lyndee Sing at 805-756 2645 or email her at [email protected]
More information on the book is attached, and can also be found at http://grci.calpoly.edu/projects/friedl-bell.html
Note to Editors: Excerpts from the book are included below and may be reprinted. Photos are available on request. Contact Lyndee Sing at 805-756 2645 or email [email protected]
Page 148: "Eieeeee! We were on the run in the Crimea!" she had cried. "I was hiding behind a rock wall as the Reds passed by. The Bolsheviks were so close! As they galloped their horses next to my hiding place, my face was just inches from their stirrups. I could see the scuff marks and smell the mud caked on their boots. And with all the dust kicked up by the pounding hooves, I was panicked I would sneeze!"
Pages: 39-40: "Almost from the beginning of the Kelleys' arrival in San Luis Obispo, they were part of the town's party scene, mixing with the moneyed crowd, who probably were impressed Dorsey and Tanya were occasionally invited by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst for cocktails at "the Ranch," as he called his castle in San Simeon."