WE SHALL SEE THE SKY SPARKLING
Winner of 2019 American Fiction Award
for Best Historical Fiction
Set in London and Russia at the turn of the century, Susana Aikin’s debut introduces a vibrant young woman determined to defy convention and shape an extraordinary future.
Like other well-bred young women in Edwardian England, Lily Throop Cable is expected to think of little beyond marriage and motherhood. Passionate about the stage, Lily has very different ambitions. To her father’s dismay, she secures an apprenticeship at London’s famous Imperial Theatre. Soon, her talent and beauty bring coveted roles and devoted admirers. Yet to most of society, the line between actress and harlot is whisper-thin. With her reputation threatened by her mentor’s vicious betrayal, Lily flees to St Petersburg with an acting troupe—leaving her first love behind.
Life in Russia is as exhilarating as it is difficult. The streets rumble with talk of revolution, and Lily is drawn into an affair with Sergei, a Count with fervent revolutionary ideals. Following Sergei when he is banished to Vladivostok, Lily struggles to find her role in an increasingly dangerous world. And as Russian tensions with Japan erupt into war, only fortitude and single-mindedness can steer her to freedom and safety at last.
With its sweeping backdrop and evocative details, We Shall See the Sky Sparkling explores a fascinating period in history through the eyes of a strong-willed, singular heroine, in a moving story of love and resilience.
"Aikin’s novel is expertly plotted and rife with historical details in both its English and Russian settings, making for a rich story of the prejudices women faced at the turn of the 20th century and how the class disparity in Russia ignited the flame of revolution."
~ PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"Beginning and ending with letters written to her family, this novel has the feel of a serial drama. Readers of Pam Jenoff and Eva Stachniak will appreciate the strong-willed and artistically driven female character who finds her own way through difficult times."
~ LIBRARY JOURNAL
". . . vivid and compelling - an exceptional woman on an extraordinary journey . . ."
~Livi Michael, Author of War of the Roses Trilogy
"Against the dramatic backdrops of a Russia on the brink of revolution and the colorful lives backstage of the London theatre circuit, Susana Aikin has created a feisty Edwardian protagonist whose trajectory still resonates with the predicament of women working in the arts today."
~ Sara Alexander, Under a Sardinian Sky and Four Hundred and Forty Steps to the Sea