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Natasha (Natalia) Templeton, writer of historical fiction, came to New Zealand with her Russian family in 1951 after years living as a post-war ‘displaced person’. In a Bavarian camp she received an intensive Russian education before attending Wellington East Girls’ College and Victoria University, where she studied modern languages and English Literature. She started work in the War Histories Section of Internal Affairs, but her love for the theatre led her to the varsity drama club and on to Unity Theatre and Radio Drama productions. In 1957–59 she studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and worked in repertory at Croydon. On return to Wellington, she married Hugh Templeton, Rhodes Scholar and diplomat, and they served overseas: first in Samoa and then in New York, where Natasha took an MA degree in Russian Literature at Columbia University. Back in New Zealand, while raising her two children, Natasha worked as a teacher, book reviewer and lecturer on Russian literature. She also wrote short stories. In 1980s she began research on a wartime series of which two novels have appeared: Firebird and Winter in the Summer Garden.The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature notes that her work is considered ‘unique in its conscious fusion of the tradition of the Russian novel with New Zealand material and themes’, ‘compelling action narrative and humanitarian commitment’, and for historical accuracy which in parts draws her personal early life in pre-war and war-torn Russia and Europe.

Winter in the Summer Garden Natasha Templeton

This vivid, moving and provocative novel presents a story of a whole society caught up in national turmoil.

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