November 1920. Russia may have endured the Revolution, but a brutal civil war still rages. As brothers are pitted against each other in battle, thousands of Russians flee as the threat draws ever closer. As distant relatives of the Romanovs, the Kirilov family is never far from suspicion, and closer to danger than most. When tragedy strikes, four-year-old Lydia Kirillova is separated from her family. The only key to her identity is the opulent jewel concealed in her petticoat. Struck by the child's plight, the benevolent diplomat Sir Edward Stoneleigh brings her to England, where she grows up well-educated, wealthy, and surrounded by a loving family. Yet it is not enough. Unable to recall even her own birth date, Lydia yearns to know the truth about her heritage - the charming Nikolay Andropov offers her the perfect opportunity to do so. Invited to join him on a trip to Russia, Lydia jumps at the chance to discover more about the past she finds increasingly difficult to remember. But when reality sets in, is all as it seems? With the Second World War looming, Lydia's situation becomes desperate. Will she ever find a place to finally think of as home?
Born in Singapore, Mary Nichols spent most of her life in East Anglia. She wrote short stories and articles for a variety of newspapers and magazines, but later turned to writing novels. Mary died in 2016.