In the opening years of twentieth-century England, the illegitimate daughter of King Edward VII struggles to find her way in life and to establish her identity. Raised by an elderly couple, a tailor and his wife, far north of royal London in the country’s Lake District, Mary loses both foster parents at age sixteen and is put into service to Lord and Lady Lonsdale at Lowther Castle. But she yearns to better herself via her extraordinary singing voice, and when her employers refuse to support her singing, she launches out on her own and becomes involved in an international intrigue that she could never have imagined. The surprising finish and the ultimate decision she makes prove her true metal and character.
The author's grandmother’s mysterious origins have long been a topic of speculation within his family. Some have conjured, with a laugh and without a shred of evidence, that she might have been the illegitimate child of a member of Britain’s royal family.
One day, while poring over an old book of English history, Clarkson noticed that at the very time his grandmother was conceived, Bertie, the Prince of Wales who later became King Edward VII, was at the family’s Sandringham retreat alone while his wife, Princess Alexandra, visited her family in Denmark. The Prince was a renowned rake who had several illicit liaisons during his marriage, including one with the famed beauty, Lady Frances Brooke, later the Countess of Warwick, called affectionately by Bertie “My darling Daisy wife,” during the same period.
The coincidence was too inviting to pass by. The author could not resist weaving this fictional tale through known family and world events.