Seduced by the city of Vienna. Threatened by war. Can an ordinary girl realise her dreams in extraordinary times?
When seventeen-year-old Stella Whittaker is offered the chance to study at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna it's a dream-come-true, made possible by old family friends, Rainer and Marthe Kraus, who offer her a room in their apartment. Seduced by the elegant beauty of the city, Stella explores the magnificent palaces, gardens and fashionable coffee houses, and after a chance meeting in an art gallery, falls in love with Harri Reznik, a young Jewish doctor.
But as the threat of war casts a dark shadow over Europe, Stella soon discovers that both the household where she lives, and the city she has come to call home, are not as welcoming as they once seemed. And at the dawn of this terrifying new world, no-one is safe.
“An exquisitely crafted novel about a young woman who risks everything for love.”
“Margaret Leroy does an amazing job of showing us the Nazi takeover of Austria through the eyes of an engaging, bright and brave seventeen-year-old English girl. I lost three nights of sleep, unable to put this superbly written book aside and turn out the light.” Diane Chamberlain, author of Necessary Lies and The Lost Daughter.
“A beautifully-written, captivating novel – Margaret Leroy at her best.” Giselle Green, author of A Sister’s Gift.
“Margaret Leroy captures, brilliantly, a spirit of place and time in her recreation of the beauty, deception and coming darkness of pre-war Vienna, and what it means to be young, in love, and very far from home. I loved it.” Elizabeth Speller, author of The Return of Captain John Emmett.
“A wonderfully detailed and richly imagined setting in which plays out a story at once lyrical and chilling.” Rosamund Lupton, author of Sister.
Published by Little Brown. Australia: December 5 2013. UK: August 28 2014.