Left a house and a fortune by her godfather, Galina is delighted at the unexpected opportunity to enter the glittering society of St. Petersburg in the early nineteenth century.
Yet she cannot help feeling uncomfortable about her new-found wealth, for her godfather's nephew, Gennadi, an officer in the Imperial Russian Navy, should have been the rightful heir. But he has been shipwrecked in the Arctic...or has he? Galina is strangely haunted by the vivid portrait of the handsome sailor hanging in the library. He is the perfect hero of her imagination ¬ but surely she cannot be so foolish as to fall in love with a portrait?