St. Petersburg, 1736. Dasha and Xenia are cousins and devoted friends growing up in the shadow of royal society. On the night they make their debut at court, Xenia falls madly in love with a charismatic singer in the empress's imperial choir. They marry and settle into a contented family life.
But on a snowy winter night, tragedy shatters their dreams, plunging Xenia into an abyss of grief. Pulling away from everyone, including her dear friend, she begins giving away her possessions to the poor. Then one day she disappears...until eight years later, when Dasha hears rumors of a soothsayer and healer in St. Petersburg's slums, dressed in a ragged military uniform, who answers only to her husband's name.
Told in Dasha's compelling voice, The Mirrored World vividly captures a darkly glittering world of imperious empresses, ice palaces, holy fools, and Italian castrati--a world of unparalleled extravagance for the few and desperate squalor for the multitudes. What causes one privileged young woman to cross that divide, to give up all her possessions and become one of the homeless people whom she has served? Is it devotion or delusion? The novel illuminates the blessings of friendship, the limits of reason, and the costs of loving deeply.