A breathtaking novel of love, madness, and devotion set against the extravagant royal court of eighteenth-century St. Petersburg, Russia.
Xenia is an eccentric dreamer when she falls in love with a charismatic singer in the Imperial choir. Though they adore each other, their happiness is overshadowed by the demands of the royal court, and by Xenia's obsession to have a child. When a tragic vision comes true, she withdraws into grief and undergoes a profound transformation, giving her possessions to the poor. Then, one day, she vanishes.
Years later, dressed in the tatters of her husband's mil-itary uniform, Xenia is discovered tending the paupers of St. Petersburg's slums. Revered as a soothsayer and a healer, she is feared by Empress Catherine, who perceives her deeds as a rebuke.
In this elegant tale, Dean reimagines the life of Xenia of St. Petersburg, one of Russia's most mysterious and beloved holy figures. It is an evocative exploration of the blessings of long and loyal friendship, the limits of reason, and the true costs of loving deeply.