Page 126. " The King of England is George! "
Portrait of King George V
Public DomainPortrait of King George V - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

George V reigned from 1910 until his death in 1936. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Edward VIII, but after less than a year, Edward abdicated so he could marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. He was succeeded by his younger brother, Albert, who took the reign name of George VI.

King George VI reigned until his death in 1952; he was recently brought to life in the Oscar-winning film The King’s Speech.

Page 127. " visit from Baranowicze "
Fountain in Central Square of Baranovichi
Creative Commons AttributionFountain in Central Square of Baranovichi - Credit: Igor Mostitsky/Wikimedia Commons

Baranowicze, the original name for the city now known as Baranovichi, is located in western Belarus. Its WWII history is a gruesome one.

The outbreak of the Second World War saw this Polish city occupied by Soviet Union forces. At that time, Baranowicze was home to a local Jewish population of approximately 9,000, as well as a further 3,000 refugee Jews from surrounding German-occupied Polish areas. In 1941, the city was captured by the German army and later that year a ghetto was formed on its outskirts. From March through to December of 1942, the entire Jewish population of Baranowicze was systematically sent to German concentration camps and killed in the gas chambers.

After the war, Baranowicze was reclaimed by the Soviet Union and became known by its Russian name Baranovichi. The city became part of an independent Belarus in 1991.

Page 129. " “Songs My Mother Taught Me,” by Dvořák "

Songs My Mother Taught Me is a song by Czech composer Antonín Dvořák. It is one of his Gypsy Songs drawn from poems by fellow Czech Adolf Heyduk. The lyrics are in both Czech and German, and translate into English as follows:


Songs my mother taught me,

In the days long vanished;

Seldom from her eyelids

Were the teardrops banished.


Now I teach my children,

Each melodious measure.

Oft the tears are flowing,

Oft they flow from my memory's treasure.


Listen on Spotify

Page 130. " A poster of Matisse, or maybe Monet. No! Modigliani "

Red Nude by Amedeo Modigliani
Public DomainRed Nude by Amedeo Modigliani - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Claude Monet (1840-1926), and Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920) are widely considered three of the greatest painters of all time and their work can be found in art galleries around the world. While French artist Matisse was best known for his revolutionary use of colour, Monet was a founder of French impressionist painting.

Modigliani was Italian but, like Matisse and Monet, worked mainly in France and was primarily a figurative artist. Unfortunately overwork and an addiction to drugs and alcohol took their toll and Modigliani died aged 35.

The Modigliani poster referred to in The History of Love could be one of several nude works, such as the Red Nude painted in 1917 and pictured here.

Page 131. " The great Arthur Rubinstein "
Arthur Rubinstein in 1937
Public DomainArthur Rubinstein in 1937 - Credit: Carl Van Vechten/Wikimedia Commons

Arthur Rubinstein was a world-renowned Polish-American pianist who quickly became identified as a child prodigy after demonstrating perfect pitch and an interest in the piano when he was a toddler.

Rubinstein studied the piano throughout his childhood and teenage years, and then moved to Paris in 1904 to launch his professional career. He made his New York debut at Carnegie Hall in 1906, followed by concerts in Austria, Italy and Russia. Apparently, he was not well received in the United States and, after finding himself destitute in Berlin in 1908, he tried to commit suicide.

Fortunately, Rubinstein turned a corner in his life after this, making his London debut in 1912 and continuing to live there during WWI. At the time of the Second World War, Rubenstein’s career was centred in the United States and he became a US citizen in 1946.

Rubinstein was considered one of the greatest recitalists, concerto soloists, and chamber musicians of the 20th century. Eventually failing eyesight forced him to retire from the stage in 1976, aged 89. He died in Geneva, Switzerland, six years later.








Page 139. " camping in the Ural Mountains "

The Ural Mountains are the traditional dividing line between Europe and Asia, running through western Russia from the Arctic Ocean to the Ural River and northwestern Kazakhstan. They have been a rich mineral source of metal ores, coal, and precious and semi-precious stones for Russia since the 18th century.

Page 139. " Or just the Kazakh Steppes "

The Kazakh Steppe is located at the southern end of the Ural Mountains in northern Kazakhstan. It is a vast grassland area covering 804,500 square kilometers and is the largest dry steppe region on earth.

Page 140. " skate on the Neva "
Map of the Neva River
Public DomainMap of the Neva River - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Neva river runs from Lake Ladoga in northwestern Russia through to the Gulf of Finland. It is the third largest river in Europe (after the Volga and the Danube) and it links four cities to the sea – Saint Petersburg, Shlisselburg, Kirovsk and Otradnoye.

The Neva has a rich history. It was the site of the Battle of the Neva in 1240, the founding of Saint Petersburg in 1703, and the Siege of Leningrad in WWII.

Page 140. " And Yad Vashem doesn’t list "

Yad Vashem is the official memorial to those Jews who perished in the Holocaust during World War II. The 45-acre complex is located on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem, Israel, and includes archives, various memorial sites, the Holocaust History Museum, the Museum of Holocaust Art, a library, sculptures, a synagogue and an education centre. One of the most moving features of Yad Vashem is the Hall of Names, which contains pages of testimony commemorating the millions of Holocaust victims and is pictured below.


The Hall of Names at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe Hall of Names at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem - Credit: David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons
Page 140. " died in the Holocaust "

The Holocaust was the systematic extermination of approximately six million European Jews by Nazi Germany during World War II.

Page 142. " the train car scene in North by Northwest "

North by Northwest is a 1959 Alfred Hitchcock thriller involving a case of mistaken identity. The train scene referred to in The History of Love comes at the end of the film when Cary Grant pulls Eva Marie Saint onto the upper bunk of a carriage and the train is then seen speeding away through a tunnel.




Page 143. " The dirt streets in Tel Aviv "

Panoramic view of Tel Aviv
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikePanoramic view of Tel Aviv - Credit: Ynhockey/Wikimedia Commons
Tel Aviv is Hebrew for “Spring Mound” and the name of Israel’s second largest city. While The History of Love describes Tel Aviv as having “dirt streets” when Israel was still a new country, it is now a thriving coastal city and its beaches, cafes, bars, restaurants and shopping make it a popular tourist destination.

Page 143. " The Falls of Iguaçu "
The Iguaçu Falls
Creative Commons AttributionThe Iguaçu Falls - Credit: Juan/Wikimedia Commons

The Iguaçu Falls, or Iguazu Falls, are located along the Iguazu River on the border of the Brazilian State of Paraná and the Argentine Province of Misiones.



Page 143. " the grass of Kibbutz Yavne "

Kibbutz Yavne is a religious collective community located east of Ashdod in Israel.

Page 147. " a descendent of Catherine the Great "

Catherine the Great
Public DomainCatherine the Great - Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Catherine II reigned as the Empress of Russia from 1762 until her death in 1796. She came to power following the assassination of her husband, Peter III, and is known as Catherine the Great because the Russian Empire expanded and flourished under her rule.