For Mariella Lingwood, Rosa's cousin, the war is contained within the pages of her scrapbook, in her London sewing circle, and in the letters she receives from her fiancé, Henry - a celebrated surgeon who has also volunteered to work within the shadow of the guns. When Henry falls ill and is sent to recuperate in Italy, Mariella impulsively decides she must go to him.
But upon her arrival at his lodgings, she makes a heartbreaking discovery: Rosa has disappeared without a trace. Following the trail of her elusive cousin, Mariella's epic journey takes her from the domestic restraint of Victorian London to the ravaged landscape of the Crimea and the tragic city of Sebastopol, where she encounters Rosa's dashing stepbrother, a reckless cavalry officer whose complex past---and future---is inextricably bound up with her own.
As Mariella's quest leads her deeper into the dark heart of the conflict, her ordered world begins to crumble, and she finds she has much to learn about secrecy, faithfulness, and love.
This author writes beautifully descriptive novels. She has obviously researched her writing and develops her characters. Her characters grow and change through the book. Yet, in both this novel and the Alchemists daughter, she wraps the book up in 3 minutes after spending hours with the body of the book. It left me feeling that the book was unfinished and I was unsatisfied.
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