From the shadows of the correspondences and the contradictions of biography, the elusive Salomé emerges in this boldly revealing fiction to tell her own story through the three major relationships of her life: at twenty-one she meets the smitten philosopher Nietzsche; at thirty-six she takes the fledgling poet Rilke as her first lover; and at fifty she wins the deep affection of Freud. Who was she really, Lou Salomé? Willful, conniving girl, controlling femme fatale, or nurturing literary muse? Drawing on neglected historical sources and deftly weaving in the presentday character Anna Kane in pursuit of Lou, von der Lippe layers what is known about Salomé with what can only be imagined. This is a story of love’s epiphanies and pain, a lost child, and the redemptive power of words.