When Captain Edgar Drummond learns he is to serve his first commission in the Crimean war, he brings with him his two sisters, Blanche, the beauty, and Sarah, the bright, eager intelligent one. It will, after all, only be a skirmish. Slowly, as the horrors of the Crimea begin to pervade their lives, the sisters true qualities begin to emerge. Blanche discovers her physical beauty and unabashed frivolity have no place in the harsh world of war and she behaves disgracefully. Edgar, stiff and conventional, finds his obsession with reason and order ineffectual amidst the chaos of war. He cannot cope with his job, not looking after his sisters. Only Sarah finds the courage to take an active role in the war, to protest against the horrors to which the common soldiers are subjected. Her love for the unconventional newspaper man who opens her to reality is thwarted first by her wicked, winsome sister, then by the vagaries of war, but eventually they are brought together in a dirty, slumlike room on the quayside at Scutari.
Caroline Harvey is the pseudonym of Joanna Trollope, the highly acclaimed author of bestselling contemporary novels. The Choir, A Village Affair, A Passionate Man, The Rector's Wife, The Men and the Girls, A Spanish Lover, The Best of Friends, Next of Kin, Other People's Children, Marrying the Mistress, Girl From the South and Second Honeymoon are all published by Black Swan. She has also written a study of women in the British Empire, Britannia's Daughters. As Caroline Harvey she has written several historical novels including Legacy of Love, A Second Legacy, Parson Harding's Daughter, The Steps of the Sun, The Brass Dolphin, City of Gems and The Taverners' Place, which are all published by Corgi Books. Joanna Trollope was born in Gloucestershire, where she still lives. She was appointed OBE in the 1996 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to literature.