Two attractive, intelligent people with one thing in common - both of them have sworn never to marry, unless it is for true love. Beautiful and headstrong, Lady Elva Chartham shocks her family when she deunces the debutante balls and festivities of London as a waste of her time. Determined t to bow to the pressure of polite society into an early marriage, she returns home to the pleasures of the country and to dream of travel and adventure. Little does she kw that opportunities for both will be presented to her during a surprise visit from her cousin, the enigmatic Duke of Sparkbrook. Handsome and equally adamant that he will t marry the eligible young ladies paraded before him, they enter into a pact to help the British Government. Leaving the safety of England for Russia and the opulent court of Empress Catherine, Elva and the Duke grow closer as they face great danger amongst the plotters and espionage they discover. Will they succeed in their mission and return safely back to Britain? Or will their deception be discovered as they get drawn ever deeper into a court filled with desire, betrayal, revenge, and ultimately love? If you like Downton Abbey you will love Barbara Cartland .