About the book:
Four women sit in the candlelit drawing-room at Nansmornow, an ancient Cornish manor house. The air is thick with unspoken suspicion and secret malice. As Hester Lamorna pours tea for her three guests, she has no idea one of them is about to rock her new marriage to its very foundations.
Half a world away, Hester’s impossible and charmismatic husband, Jack ‘Crow’ Crowlas, will be caught up in a chess game of sexual manipulation, played out across the sumptuous ballrooms of St Petersburg. All Hester and Crow hold most dear will be tested to the limit and beyond: their love for each other and their child, and for Crow, the loyalty of his only brother.
This is the second book in the series and is set in 1819.
When betrayals send Crow and Hester in opposite directions we find ourselves transported to a St Petersburg very reminiscent of Tolstoy’s War and Peace.
With the alternative history that Katy Moran has applied to this series we are taken across the European continent and into the depths of Russia.
Avoiding spoilers, this story had my heart in my mouth for pretty much the entire book!
With Kitto now a war hero in his own right, much of the story follows Kitto and Nadezhda (or Nadia), who is travelling with him, in an effort to transport a herd of horses from the Steppes into St Petersburg. At the same time, Crow is trying to find Nadezhda in an attempt to prove he is not betraying England in favour of Napoleon, because of his French ancestors. Hester is alone, fleeing for her life, having chosen to separate herself from their daughter to protect her, and is trying to find her way to Crow.
With plenty of political intrigue, betrayals and danger, this beautifully written novel continues with Hester and Crow and their challenging life together in a Europe rocked by war.
I loved the location of this book in the series, with the dissolute salons of society in St Petersburg at complete odds with the expansive travels by horseback across country. I loved the development of Kitto’s character from the child in the previous book, and loved to see the connection between him and Nadezhda, although that may not turn out to be quite so straightforward as their story advances.
Please come back tomorrow for my review of the third and final book in the trilogy, Scandalous Alchemy.
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