Sophia's past was almost unknown to her daughter. Other than the fact that she escaped almost at the very end, arriving in New York and joining Aunt Lana her daughter Isobelle knows very little.
When Sophia dies suddenly in a freak accident, Isobelle is left grappling with her absence. Turning to refurbishing the apartment she lives in, Isobelle discovers hidden niches containing clues to her mother's past.
The story is told in two time lines - that of Sophia and her Russian past and the New York present and then her daughter Isobelle's present. Isobelle is at a cross roads professionally - being a female architect in 1948 New York was no easy task, especially dealing with a male chauvinist like her boss, who uses her one lapse as blackmail against her. Isobelle despairs of ever finding love and building a strong relationship and she also hankers to know more about her father. The subject of her father was a taboo subject and no amount of persuasion could get Sophia to talk on the subject.
With the discovery of the frame of the tiara, Isobelle goes to the jeweller who handled the transaction and slowly layer upon layer is uncovered of her family's history - the so traumatic past and how her father was betrayed by his own. The world of famous jewellers is also part of this story - albeit small but intriguing.
Several strands from the past - not just personal to Sophia but also history of the Tsars and the Revolution are woven together bringing it to present times very satisfactorily.
Sent by Blue Box Press for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.