- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 6, 2005

A flying V of VIPS descended on Indian Ambassador Ranendra Sen’s residence Monday night to celebrate the publication of “Healing Light: Thirty Messages of Love, Hope and Courage” by Washington author Alexandra Villard de Borchgrave. The book of poems, lavishly illustrated with Indian-themed Mughal paintings from noted museum and private collections, was written as a post-September 11 exercise designed to soothe and enhearten those who suffered that day.

“On the second anniversary of the tragedy, I was inspired by the children going to Ground Zero, calling out their parents’ names,” Mrs. de Borchgrave explained. “It moved me. Two days later, I woke up with these poems in my head. What is wonderful to me is that people seem to understand it and respond to the images in the book.”

“It’s the personification of Alexandra herself,” her friend Aniko Gaal Schott marveled, “beautiful, intelligent, passionate and gentle.”

The author, dressed in a delicate magenta sari as she air-kissed arriving guests, inspired praise from others in the crowd as well. “If you looked up the words ‘beautiful’ and ‘brilliant’ in the dictionary,” Rep. Edward Markey said, “her picture is there.” “And ‘inspirational,’ ” his wife, Dr. Susan Blumenthal, added after purchasing multiple copies to give away as gifts.

Fans gathering in the drawing room to await inscribed copies of the book included former Secretaries of Defense William S. Cohen and Frank Carlucci, former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, Lady (Catherine) Manning (whose latest thriller, “Death in the Garden” has just been published under her nom de plume, Elizabeth Ironside), Singaporean Ambassador Heng Chee Chan, Ina Ginsburg (chic in a peach Oscar de la Renta suit and Chanel brooch), former Ambassador to Germany Richard Burt, former Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering, Jerry Jasinowski, Ann and Bill Nitze, JoAnn Mason and Ann and Lloyd Hand.

Guests dined on puri, Indian chicken with yogurt and rice and vegetables after Mr. Sen warmly toasted his guest of honor.

The author’s husband, journalist, think-tanker and bon vivant Arnaud de Borchgrave, said his wife is not the typical high-strung writer. “She’s very even-tempered. The one with the mercurial temper is me. For 37 years, she’s been the same.”

As for her next book, he laughed heartily. “I don’t know, maybe ‘Life With Arnaud.’ She’s been threatening to write that.”

Stephanie Mansfield

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