Tamsyn Caunter stood on the doorstep of the little grey house and watched the grey sky above the treetops, and shivered in the grey March wind that seemed somehow colder than any wind she had ever known before.
And Tamsyn's tulip on the window-sill, that the Wise Woman had said would flower at Christmas and bring her her heart's desire, stood joyously a-tiptoe, with its scarlet petals held wide, wide open to the stars and the pealing bells.
If only she'd been born a boy, Tamsyn would never have been sent away to Uncle Gideon's - the armourer's - house when her grandmother died. She could have stayed by the wild sea that she loved with her Uncle Martin, the ship merchant. But instead, she is bound for busy, bustling Tudor London, and the armourer's house, far from the coast and far from her beloved ships. Homesick and lonely in the loud family of cousins, it isn't until she meets the strange old Wise Woman that Tamsyn is finally promised her "heart's desire"...