As far back as Alice Davenport could remember, her Papa had impressed on her that she had duties – to look after her younger brothers and sister when Mama ‘excitable and unwell.’ And when Alice was fourteen and Mama died Papa stressed her duties even more, for as an army doctor he was leaving them all to go and fight the Boers. Once again Alice had to sacrifice her own dreams to family responsibilities. But when Captain Davenport returned to Southport, it looked as if Alice’s life was going to begin, at last. For Papa brought with him an invitation to the Victory Ball at Hetherington Hall, and it was there that she encountered the two men who were to dominate her future – Major Frederick Blackshaw, son of Sir Jack Blackshaw, a bullying, violent man whose legacy of betrayal was to haunt Alice for many years – and Karl Rheinhardt, son of an Austro-Hungarian family, who became obsessed with Alice and determined to take her back to Prague with him. As the First World War loomed, it seemed that Alice could lose everything, even her life, but her courage and strength finally carried her triumphantly into a world of her own making.