21 June 1922 Count Alexander Rostov - recipient of the Order of Saint Andrew, member of the Jockey Club, Master of the Hunt - is escorted out of the Kremlin, across Red Square and through the elegant revolving doors of the Hotel Metropol. Instead of being taken to his usual suite, he is led to an attic room with a window the size of a chessboard.
One hot August day a family drives to a mountain clearing to collect birch wood. The two daughters, June and May, aged nine and six, drink lemonade, swat away horseflies, bicker, sing snatches of songs as they while away the time.
A Dubray Books Favourite Book of 2014 'It dazzled me from start to finish; I would have read it in one sitting if it had been possible.' Aifric McMahon, Bray 'A captivating book, demonstrating the fickleness of fate, with an absorbing storyline filled with obsession, loss and survival.' Grace Looby, Bray 'The beautifully descriptive and engaging story of Theo, an orphan, as he keeps a huge secret from those closest to him while navigating growing up.' Siobhan Power, Grafton St. 'Complex characters and a gripping narrative make this a great read.' Jane Fogarty, Grafton St.