Julia and Sura are good friends, although completely different. Julia is the daughter of a wealthy shipbuilder, and Sura was taken away from her home when she was young. Julia bears a withered arm-the Curse of Venus, and Sura is utterly gorgeous. Julia has freedom, Sura is her slave. This summer has already been awful. Julia must endure both sister's weddings. And then she and Sura suspect that Julia's parents have an awful plan for them that will change both girl's lives forever.
Yet the one thing that is the most unpredictable at all is that, under lush green vineyards, the beastly volcano that slumbers in Mount Vesuvius close to Sura and Julia's small Italian town, Pompeii, is about to erupt. When it does, it forges a path of destruction, and it's up to Sura and Julia whether to stay behind with those they know and love to die under the poisonous ash, or save their own lives and futures.
Although this great book by Kathryn Lasky has a slow beginning, it's totally worth it to read all the way through. Kathryn Lasky, author of the successful Guardians of Ga'Hoole series and Camp Princess series, has a unique and flowing voice that readers will eat up with pleasure.