Being a ballerina leaves a lot to be desired in post-World War I Paris, so Vera decides to help herself to a fortune in Russian jewels . . . and a new royal identity as Zhenia Dashkova in The Distaff Side by Elizabeth Palmer. The mysterious now-princess moves swiftly to a new life amid British society, where she catches the eye of domineering Augusta Langham. The matriarch disapproves of her put-upon son Bertie's choice for a wife. Certainly a Russian princess will make a better daughter-in-law than Mai, a mere Suffragette. As Zhenia and Mai each marry, the story and their lives are shaped by the duplicity of Zhenia and the valiant courage of Mai. Palmer tweaks the traditional family saga with wry social commentary and tinges of malevolence as brooding as an English winter rain. Sandy Huseby writes from her homes in Fargo, North Dakota, and lakeside in northern Minnesota.