A breath-taking historical novel set in 1930s Vienna, about an ordinary girl living in extraordinary times.
When seventeen-year-old Stella Whittaker is offered the chance to study at the Academy of Music in Vienna it's a dream-come-true, made possible by old family friends, Rainer and Marthe Kraus, who offer her a place to live.
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.
A wonderful, wonderful book! 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
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
Stunning and evocative . . . utterly beguiling - Rosamund Lupton
Margaret Leroy writes with candour and intelligence, capturing the menace of suddenly finding that the world may not be at all as you've thought it - Helen Dunmore
Gripping and heart-warming; you won't want to put it down - Irish Tatler
Margaret Leroy studied music at Oxford, and has worked as a music therapist and social worker. She has written six previous novels, including her first novel, Trust, televised by Granada; The Perfect Mother was also a NYT Notable Book of the Year, The Drowning Girl was chosen for the Oprah Summer Reading List, and The Soldier's Wife was a GoodReads Historical Fiction finalist. Her books have been published in twelve languages. She is married with two children, and lives in London.