The runaway bestseller Lilac Girls introduced the world to the real-life heroine Caroline Ferriday. Now, a generation earlier, this sweeping new novel featuring Caroline's mother, Eliza, follows three equally indomitable women from St. Petersburg to Paris under the shadow of World War I.
It is 1914 and the world has been on the brink of war so many times, many New Yorkers treat the subject with only passing interest. Eliza Ferriday is thrilled to be traveling to St. Petersburg with Sofya Streshnayva, a cousin of the Romanovs. The two met years ago one summer in Paris and became close confidantes. Now Eliza embarks on the trip of a lifetime, home with Sofya to see the splendors of Russia: the church with the interior covered in jeweled mosaics, the Rembrandts at the Tsar's Winter Palace, the famous ballet. But when Austria declares war on Serbia and Russia's Imperial dynasty begins to fall, Eliza escapes back to America, while Sofya and her family flee to their estate outside the city. In need of domestic help, they hire the local fortuneteller's daughter, Varinka, unknowingly bringing intense danger into their home. On the other side of the Atlantic, Eliza is doing her part to help the White Russian families find safety as they escape the revolution. But when Sofya's letters suddenly stop coming she fears the worst for her best friend.
From the turbulent streets of St. Petersburg and aristocratic estates of the countryside to the avenues of Paris and the society of fallen Russian émigrés there to the mansions of Long Island, the lives of Eliza, Sofya, and Varinka will intersect in profound ways, taking readers on a breathtaking ride through a momentous time in history.