All Mabel MacGinnis has ever known is life in the Manzo Brothers Circus. In 1911, as the strongest woman in Europe, she has quite a reputation. Bram, her father, was a famous strong man. When he dies suddenly, her standing in the circus becomes uncertain. She learns that the mother she thought had died years ago has been alive the entire time. To make matters worse, the truth was hidden from her.
Ottilie Russell is a young woman of Indian and British descent living in British-occupied India. As the daughter of an Indian mother and British father, she doesn’t fully belong in either culture. She lives with her grandmother and brother, Thaddaeus, whom she supports through her embroidery work. She is skilled in beetle-wing embroidery, an old Indian art that she learned from her late mother.