She was born in 1903 in Kiev to a well-off Jewish family. The authors of this fascinating biography have had access to previously unpublished documents and to surviving family members in Russia, researching there her childhood in the Ukraine, and tracing her odyssey first to St Petersburg, where her father was a successful financier, and then, as the family was forced to flee the Russian Revolution, to Finland, Sweden and finally France in 1919. They settled in Paris, and in 1926 she married another Jewish emigre, Michel Epstein. With the publication of David Golder in 1929 - delivered to a publisher just before the delivery of her first daughter, Denise - Irene swiftly became a highly respected and successful writer. By 1937, and with the birth of a second daughter, life was less easy. And the coming of the Second World War put paid to everything. When France fell to the Nazis, the family took refuge in a small Burgundy village, just inside the occupied zone, where she finished All Our Worldly Goods, wrote Fire in the Blood and immediately began Suite Francaise. In July 1942 she was arrested by the French police and deported to Auschwitz, where she died the following month. Meticulously researched passionately felt, this is a remarkable, panoramic biography of an exceptional writer, a moving portrait of a woman and of her extraordinary times, and a sweeping saga of a turbulent period of European history, holding up a mirror to the world of publishing, intellectual thought, society and the darker shadow of prejudice between the wars.