“Sonya was a slender little brunette with a tender look in her eyes which were veiled by long lashes, thick black plaits coiling twice around her head, and a tawny tint in her complexion and especially in the color of her slender but graceful and muscular arms and neck. By the grace of her movements, by the softness and flexibility of her small limbs, and by a certain coyness and reserve of manner, she reminded one of a pretty, half-grown kitten which promises to become a beautiful little cat. She evidently considered it proper to show an interest in the general conversation by smiling, but in spite of herself her eyes under their thick long lashes watched her cousin who was going to join the army, with such passionate girlish adoration that her smile could not for a single instant impose upon anyone, and it was clear that the kitten had settled down only to spring up with more energy and again play with her cousin as soon as she too could, like Natasha and Boris, escape from the drawing room.”
War and Peace, page 60
Aisling Loftus, the British actress who plays Natasha’s BFF and penniless cousin is absolutely mad about Natasha’s brother, Nicolai (Jack Lowden), even though he is her cousin. When he returns, wounded from the war, home on leave, despite her affection, Sonya doesn’t want to burden Nicolai with her memory when he returns to the fighting ...
“I am in love with your brother once for all, and , whatever may happen to him, or to me, shall never cease to love him as long as I live. ... Sonya became thoughtful. The question of how to write to Nicolai, and whether she ought to write, tormented her. Now that he was already an officer and a wounded hero, would it be right to remind him of herself and, as it might seem, of the obligations to her he had taken on himself.”
I have at least one thing in common with Ms. Loftus: we both find some of the battle scenes—in her words—a bit arduous. Despite that, she told the Guardian, she has read the book. Me? I’m working on it. As Loftus said, those battle scenes are a bit hard going, but I’m loving the drama of the human relationships. Reading the Guardian piece, headlined “Tolstoy was quite cruel about women” I’m nervous about the outcome of this particular love story and Loftus’ somewhat spoilery remarks (can comments about a film based on an almost 150 year old book ever be spoilers?) don’t make me feel any more optimistic.
“Sonya really believes that if she’s self-sacrificing, she will be rewarded. She’ll have this Technicolor romance. We expect that, too, but it isn’t for her. Tolstoy is quite cruel about women sometimes, but he makes an attempt to understand them. At the beginning I think she’s described as a little kitten; at the end she’s a sterile flower.”
Aisling Loftus on Sonya Rostova
Scripted by Andrew Davies, who also wrote Mr. Selfridge —where you’ve seen Loftus before, by the way—and based on Tolstoy’s classic, War and Peace starring Lily James, Paul Dano and James Norton is already airing in the UK. It arrives in the U.S. on January 18th as a four part miniseries being shown on Lifetime, A&E and The History Channel.