Diamond wasn't always a star. Born to penniless parents who longed for a strong, healthy son, she was a dainty, delicate daughter - and a bitter disappointment. Discovering an extraordinary gift for acrobatics, Diamond uses her talent to earn a few pennies, but brings shame on her family.
When a mysterious, cruel-eyed stranger spots her performing, Diamond is sold - and is taken to become an acrobat at Tanglefield's Travelling Circus. The crowds adore Diamond, but life behind the velvet curtains is far from glamorous. Her wicked master forces Diamond to attempt ever more daring tricks, until she is terrified to step into the ring.
But there are true friends to be found, too: the gentle Mister Marvel; the kindly Madame Adeline; and the glorious Emerald Star, Tanglefield's brand-new ringmaster, and Diamond's heroine. When life at the circus becomes too dangerous to bear any longer, what will the future hold for Diamond? And will her beloved Emerald be a part of it?