"Lady Sophia Harrington-Villiers once imagined the code name Starling would help her deliver messages behind enemy lines" . . . however, following the end of the war, "if someone wanted to pawn a piece or reacquire it from said pilfering, Starling's name settled easily on their lips. She could get them the best deal while at the same time discover who held the most financial influence".
Post-war Austria was in a fight for its proverbial life, the city of Vienna struggling to re-assert its identity amidst warring factions which operated in the shadows; very clandestine and proving to be extremely dangerous. Rumors abounded, messages were encrypted, men and women disappeared, but invariably an invisible thread drew Simon Barrington across Starling's path; their friendship having deepened over the years while becoming curiously and conveniently aligned until or unless . . . Starling began playing both sides of his trust. Her most lucrative assignment to date, locating Mozart's elusive death mask, could ruin them both, effectively destroying the melody inside of her heart, that up until now . . . Sophia had refused to play.
Filled with a generous dose of European history and painted with elaborate details of Vienna's art and architectural treasures, this story wraps romance and the longing for belonging into one very beautiful package.
Note: clean read with faint inspirational chords.
*I purchased the book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review.
No matter how you might try to hide in a war to escape your past, it is always close at hand.
Lady Sophia Huntington Villiers is no stranger to intrigue, as her work with Alan Turing’s Bombe Machines at Bletchley Park during the war attests. Now, as part of Simon Barre’s covert team in post-war Vienna, she uses her inimitable charm and code name Starling to infiltrate the world of relics: uncovering vital information that could tilt the stakes of the mounting Cold War. When several influential men charge her with finding the death mask of Mozart, Sophie wonders if there is more than the composer’s legacy at stake and finds herself drawn to potential answers in Prague.
Simon Barrington, the illegitimate heir of one of Sussex’s oldest estates, used the previous war to hide his insecurities about his past. Now, he uses his high breeding to gain access to all four allied quarters of the ruined city in an attempt to slow the fall of the Iron Curtain. He has been in love with Sophie Villiers since the moment he met her, and a marriage of convenience to save Simon’s estate has always kept her close. Until now, when Sophie’s mysterious client in Prague forces him to wonder if her allegiance to him - and their cause - is in question. Torn between his loyalty to his cause and his heart, Simon seeks answers about Sophie only to learn that everything he thought he knew about his involvement in both wars is based on a lie.