by Marika Somogyi

A love letter to her grandchildren . . .
a harrowing story of loss, fortitude, and great love

A Charmed Life tells the story of Marika Somogyi, a Hungarian American artist who survived the Hungarian Holocaust as a child, hidden by a group of Hungarian nuns, the Sisters of Social Service. She escaped from Stalinist Hungary in 1956 across the Hungarian-Austrian border with her scientist husband, László, eventually making her way to Kensington, California.

What readers are saying about the book . . .

“A moving, and in places terrifying, autobiography of a creative artist. The story starts with a comfortable Jewish middle-class existence in Hungary during World War II that soon turns into a life of persecution and expropriation with the German occupation of the country in 1944, including being forced to hide under an assumed identity at a Catholic parish in a remote village. The narrative continues under Soviet occupation and reaches its climax when, in the aftermath of the anti-Soviet revolt of 1956, the author and her husband make a hair-raising escape to Austria, where they remained briefly before moving to the United States. This memoir is for anyone interested in stories of survival under a totalitarian government.”

— Andrew C. János, Professor Emeritus, Political Science, UC Berkeley

“Marika Somogyi wanted to write a letter to her granddaughter Rianna about her life and ended up with a fascinating memoir. ‘Lacking the talent to be a public speaker, I have resorted to writing it down,’ she laments, and the reader is drawn into her extraordinary story. . . . Somogyi is an artist with an eye for detail and beauty. Her vignettes are down to earth and honest. They read like fiction, but, as her photos and original documents remind us, they are not. She does not dwell in sorrow. The horrors and irrationalities of Hungarian history never discourage her; life is hopeful. Her joys, victories, and adventures make the story captivating as she describes building a wonderful and full life against all odds. It is a charmed life, indeed.”

— George Lázár, Hungarian Free Press

A Charmed Life is available now from Amazon in paperback (ISBN #9781790778164) and Kindle versions.

View a flyer about the book (pdf)

Copyright © 2019 by Marika Somogyi. Published by László Somogyi.

For more information or to arrange a reading or interview, write Marika or László Somogyi at