In the spring of 1991 Tanya, a 17-year-old Russian ballerina and member of the Kirov Ballet Corps from Leningrad, is chosen to take part in the troupe's tour of Paris. When she arrives she is encouraged by Vera, another ballerina, to try and escape the ever-watchful KGB agents, defect with her to France, and leave the Soviet Union for ever.
Vera's family became rich through her father's dealings on the black market dealings, while Tanya's family are much poorer and have sacrificed much to help her pursue her career. Her parents and her grandfather were always politically active during the power struggle between Gorbachev and Yeltsin, and major changes in the Soviet Union. Vera longs to get away from Russia, while Tanya sees defection as a way to improve her ambitions in the ballet.
Caught up in her country's struggle for democracy, Tanya's dream of a better life in the west is soon challenged by new hope for her country's future. She sees she must make a choice between one or the other, and when she falls in love with an artist who is about to be caught up in possibly illegal business to pay for the medicine his grandmother badly needs, her choice becomes more difficult still.
The review of this Book prepared by John Van der Kiste