Charlotte Baird, an heiress with her own mind, meets Bay Middleton, a well-dressed womaniser who finds himself appreciating her frankness and kindness. Despite disapproval from a whole cast of family members their romance seems to progress easily – until Bay is asked to look after Empress Sisi of Austria while she rides with the hunt. Her beauty and riding ability captivate him, and he finds himself drawn into an affair with the lonely, powerful and ageing woman.
Daisy Goodwin has a talent for finding extremely intriguing subjects for her books. Her other book, My Last Duchess, drew me in for Robert Browning poem, one about which probably everyone who reads it wants to know more. And this one, the enigmatic vision of Empress Sisi, darling of Austria – again a compelling mystery that was the deciding factor in my reading the book. Good choices, Daisy Goodwin.