Romantic Novelists' Association

Dual timeline around the life of a forgotten artist
The joys and traumas of love, ambition, and motherhood

Anna grew up hearing stories from her grandmother of an ancestor artist’s adventures in St. Petersburg. Now, in the Hermitage Museum, adult Anna stands in front of Christina Robertson’s gorgeous life-sized portraits of the Romanovs and she hopes the legend is true. Her research into the painter becomes a quest to honour her granny.

In 1823 Christina Robertson realises her artistic ambitions exhibiting portraits at the Royal Academy. Her happiness is secured in marrying her teenage sweetheart James and having a baby girl. But Christina is harbouring a secret from him.

Anna buries herself in researching Christina Robertson, a distraction from the stress of not conceiving, which is causing growing problems in her marriage.

Christina must cope with the burden of being the breadwinner through yearly pregnancies and many bereavements.

Both Anna and Christina flee to St Petersburg after marriage crises. Can they find happiness there?