Sofia Tolstoy, the wife of Count Leo Tolstoy, kept a diary for most of her life.
It offers a fascinating chronicle of her marriage to the great Russian writer, and a vivid account of the trials and tribulations of her daily life.
The selected extract focuses on the summer of 1897 when Sofia and Leo are approaching their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary.
Turbulence characterizes their relationship, and while there are moments of passion and tenderness, tensions are also apparent.
Leo is a demanding and difficult man, and it is Sofia who ensures her husband's needs are met.
She also manages the estate where they live, and her responsibilities as a mother to her nine children are further demands on her time.
However, amid the demands of daily life, she finds solace in the beautiful landscape around her, swimming in the nearby river, and more contentiously, her friendship with the composer, Taneev.
Translated by Cathy Porter.
Reader: Barbara Flynn.
Abridged and produced by Elizabeth Allard.