As the 19th century writes its final chapters, change cannot come to Spain fast enough. Gaudí’s architecture, Sorolla’s paintings, Ramon y Cayal’s scientific breakthroughs, and Blasco Ibáñez’s writings are matched with illness epidemics, poverty, inequality and conservative landowners still reigning supreme.
In Valencia, Mireya de Centelles y Aragon, the sixth Marquesa de Valencia, holds a Happy New Year 1885 ball at her husband’s palace, to raise funds for earthquake victims in Spain’s south. But Mireya is unlike the other women of the Spanish nobility; the daughter of a Spanish Duke and a French Princess, she is a botany student at Valencia University, the only woman in her field. When Mireya meets an architect, Tiago Ríbera Herestoza, who is new to the city after studying in London, an idea is born.
Mireya, married off at 15 to a nobleman twice her age, and Tiago, a middle-class man of esteemed education, have more in common than imagined. Both have a treasury of secrets and dreams that clash with their position within the class system. With Tiago’s London life threatening his future, and pressure on Mireya to produce the next generation of noble-blooded Valencians, all the couple can embark on is an ‘intense professional relationship’. But one glass of tainted champagne could alter Mireya’s 400-year-old noble family line forever…
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