Brougham is the stateliest of stately homes, but for Lady Artemis Deverill it proves a lonely, loveless place. Eleanor Milligan, born in downtown Boston, knows only poverty and a continuing battle against bullying brothers and a sadistic father.
From the moment Artemis and Ellie meet on a liner sailing to Ireland, they are destined to become friends. And when Eleanor's Cousin Rose asks not only Eleanor but also Artemis to stay on at Strand House, County Cork, it marks the start of what is for both of them an idyllic time.
But with the arrival of the devastatingly handsome artist, Hugo Tanner, it seems as though nothing will be quite the same. For in the sunlit pre-war summer, all three become emotionally entwined, with startling consequences that threaten to haunt them for the rest of their lives.