In Cold War Leningrad, Sofi and her cousins Natalia and Lena hope for a different life for themselves. Their dreams of the West – of fame, wealth and beautiful things – sustain them through creeping poverty, the long shivering winters and the loss of their fathers. When the fall of the Soviet Union brings them new opportunities, the three girls decide that they will stop at nothing to make their dreams come true.
Each woman grasps at a new life in Europe and, for a while, it seems fortune has smiled on them. But gradually, things unravel as reality fails to live up to their teenage dreams.
Sofi’s life in a small village in rural France is idyllic, but her husband is remote and cool. Natalia shines on the red carpets and at the fashion shows of London, but her success is precariously reliant on another’s whims. Lena has two beautiful children and a loving husband, but in her mind her sister casts too long a shadow, and she becomes obsessed with the past.
Dissatisfactions prompt jealousies, rivalries and betrayals. As their relationships splinter, none of them is aware of a dark figure from their Russian years, and the bad luck that still lies in wait for them…
‘A rich saga…I couldn’t put it down.’ Kate Morton, author of The Shifting Fog