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From the bestselling author of The Lioness of Morocco and The Elephant Keeper’s Daughter, the story of an ambitious young woman discovering friendship, love, and her own identity on the eve of World War I.
Christmas 1889. A baby is born in the early hours at Vienna General Hospital, only to be abandoned by her unwed mother and entrusted to a foundling home and its loving caretaker.
Fanny Schindler grows from a precocious girl into a strong-willed young woman. Undeterred by the rules of her station, she’s determined to rise above her humble origins and pursue her dreams at all costs, becoming an apprentice to one of the most glamorous fashion houses in Austria-Hungary. All the while, as Fanny searches for a sense of belonging, her path crosses with those of three people who will change her future. To one, she is a cherished friend. To another, a confidant. And to a handsome career soldier, something more.
When hostilities in Europe burst into flame as a brutal world war, the future of the dual monarchy is at stake, friendships are strained, loyalties are tested, and everything is at risk. And when long-buried secrets about Fanny’s past come to light, she must decide what truly matters—and what is worth fighting for in a new world of infinite possibilities.