A mysterious jewel
holds the key to a life-changing secret in this breathtaking tale of love and
art, betrayal and redemption.
When she decides to auction her remarkable jewelry
collection, Nina Revskaya, once a great star of the Bolshoi Ballet, believes
she has finally drawn a curtain on her past. Instead, the former ballerina
finds herself overwhelmed by memories of her homeland and of the events, both
glorious and heartbreaking, that changed the course of her life half a century
It was in Russia that she discovered the magic of the
theater; that she fell in love with the poet Viktor Elsin; that she and her
dearest companions—Gersh, a brilliant composer, and the exquisite Vera, Nina’s
closest friend—became victims of Stalinist aggression. And it was in Russia
that a terrible discovery incited a deadly act of betrayal—and an ingenious
escape that led Nina to the West and eventually to Boston.
Nina has kept her secrets for half a lifetime, but two
people will not let the past rest: Drew Brooks, an inquisitive young associate
at a Boston auction house, and Grigori Solodin, a professor of Russian who
believes that a unique set of jewels may hold the key to his own ambiguous
past. Together these unlikely partners begin to unravel a mystery surrounding a
love letter, a poem, and a necklace of unknown provenance, setting in motion a
series of revelations that will have life-altering consequences for them all.
Interweaving past and present, Moscow and New England, the backstage
tumult of the dance world and the transformative power of art, Daphne Kalotay’s
luminous first novel—a literary page-turner of the highest order—captures the
uncertainty and terror of individuals powerless to withstand the forces of
history, while affirming that even in times of great strife, the human spirit
reaches for beauty and grace, forgiveness and transcendence.
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