Cora’s visit to the races changes her life.
She plans to bet and has hopes that if she wins, she could make her dreams true. Her dream is to go to Paris and be like the film stars she loves. While Donal goes for some refreshments, she studies the names of the horses and feels she should bet for a particular horse, which is not a favourite one. It is then that she accidentally steps on somebody’s toes. It is a man who she finds totally handsome and later hears his name is Dietrich, and they start talking. Then a woman joins him. The woman sound more arrogant and looks down on Cora. Yet, Cora doesn’t let the woman intimidate. She makes up a story about her life; she tells them that she makes hats, and her name is Coralie de Lirac.
When the pair leave, Donal comes and Cora persuades him to place her bet on the horse she wants, and even though Donal tells her that it is a certain failure, Cora doesn’t budge. When the race takes place, Cora is chuffed to learn that her horse has won, and then Donal shocks her when he tells her that he didn’t place her bet as she told her as he believed the horse would lose. Cora gets angry and storms out of the place, leaving Donal behind. In the yard there are a group of gypsies, and one of them reads her palm even though Cora tells her she has no money. The gypsy tells her that she will have a long life, but she can’t see much about her love life, but she can see that she will kill. When the gypsy finishes, she demands her money, and when she becomes aggressive, Cora asks for the shilling to Dietrich, who she had noticed before. Dietrich gives the gypsy two shillings, and after she is gone, Dietrich tells her he is waiting for the woman she was with before. We learn that the woman is Ottilia, the Jewish woman from the prologue, and Dietrich tells Cora that she is married, and she and her husband are to settle in London. For some reason Cora ends up telling him that her dream is to go to Paris, and then Dietrich tells him that he is leaving for Paris that night, and he could go with him. He says that he has another ticket for his manservant, but he can go on another train, and when Cora argues she has not passport, he tells her that he can pass herself off as his wife. So she learns then that he is married.
As Cora goes home, she is certain that she can’t accept his suggestion. Then when she gets home, she sees a message from Sheila, Donald’s sister, who is a police constable, and she is supposed to meet her in Cora’s father’s shed. When Cora enters the shed, she fears Sheila knows that she borrowed her clothes and should expect some kind of reprimand. In the shed there is a curtain separating the paint area from the rest, and through a hole Cora sees her father and Sheila kissing and talking about telling Cora something, and Cora even learns that all the dresses and good clothes she saw in Sheila’s wardrobe come from the money her father gave her, so that means the money Cora has worked hard to get and her father took straightaway have been for Sheila and her clothes. Cora angrily appears before them, and Sheila tells her that she and Jac are getting married and Cora should find herself some new lodgings. There is a big argument, and in the end Cora has to flee, fearing what her father might do to her.
The next thing we know is that Cora is in Paris under the name of Coralie de Lirac. Dietrich has placed her in a luxurious hotel room, bought her clothes, pays for her French lessons as her own French is not refined. Now Dietrich is on a trip to Berlin, but he surprises her by coming earlier. Cora is not a fool and knows what Dietrich expects from him. She can’t aspire to marriage as Dietrich already has a wife and children in Berlin. What she is afraid of is that Dietrich realizes that she is no virgin. She has a fling with a sailor, and that is why rumours about her going out with sailor spread and reached her father. When Dietrich comes, he wants her and they finally make love, and Cora’s fears vanish as he doesn’t seem to mind that he is not her first.
I am intrigued to see how Ottilia gets to become Cora’s friend or at least, that is what I think they become after reading the prologue. I am also intrigued by Dietrich. Who is he? Cora only knows that he is German and a count. Is he a Nazi? I imagine he is. And now that Cora is in Paris, what will she do? Will she be just her lover, or will she pursue her dreams and become a famous milliner?