vFor more than a decade, young Danina Petroskova has known no life but that of the ballet and her mentor Madame Markova. When a deathly illness steals her from the stage, the young dancer is inconsolable, and, desperate to speed her recovery, Madame Markova agrees to hand Danina over to the talented Dr. Nikolai Obrajensky for treatment. Convalescing with the Romanovs at the Tsarskoe Selo palace, Danina learns to live in and love the world beyond the ballet. And while grateful for Nikolai's companionship, she is startled by the intense emotions growing inside her for the married doctor. Drawn to Danina, Nikolai cannot ignore the passion between them either, and the strength of their love quickly overpowers their resistance. Soon Madame Markova and Nikolai's wife remind them of their previous obligations, and as the Revolution hovers on the horizon, the two must make a decision that will change their lives forever.
As if a romance set in the twilight years of Czarist Russia doesn't have enough intrinsic pathos, Danielle Steel takes great care to give her hero and heroine the bittersweet combination of incomparable virtue and external duties. When the young prima ballerina and the married doctor meet, they are drawn to the corresponding sense of integrity and duty in each other. However, when love and duty conflict, the struggle is never easy.