It's 1954 and Australia is agog as it awaits the royal tour to Australia by the new Queen Elizabeth II and her consort. Back in England, too, 19-year-old identical twins Violet and Daisie Chettle are delirious with excitement when they are recruited as maids to accompany the Queen's lady-in-waiting.
But life on board the SS Gothic is far from the glamorous adventure they expected, and their relationship becomes even more strained when one twin discover:s her sister's unconscionable act of betrayal.
As they travel from bustling Sydney to distant sheep stations, they try to make the best of it. Diligent Violet is juggling commands from her superiors with the attentions of handsome Aussie driver Jack, while ambitious Daisie seeks love in all the wrong places while clawing her way to top deck.
An opportunity to meet their estranged aunt living in the outback promises hope for a new future - but have these girls ventured too far from home to ever find their way back?
Based on one of the biggest true events in Australian history, this is a wickedly entertaining novel about the rifts and rivalries that can be found in every family, royal or not.
The Tour, Andrew Mackie (Penguin), RRP $26.25