An absorbing, evocative and rich period drama of buried secrets and lost love. When a mysterious countess arrives late in life to live at a large, deserted house on the edge of a sleepy Hampshire village, the local tongues start wagging. No one is more intrigued than Cecily Chadwick, idling away the long, hot summer of 1911 with nothing much to do. Cecily is fascinated by the exotic elderly lady and, as she gets to know her, is riveted by her tales of expatriate life on the continent, and of whom she once knew. But the countess is troubled: by her memories, her name, and by anonymous threats to reveal a ruinous secret...It is, she has decided, up to her close friend, a successful novelist who has come to stay for the summer, to put the record straight. For aspiring writer Cecily, the novelist's presence only adds to the intrigue and pull of the house. But it is the countess's grandson, Jack, his unanswered questions about his grandmother's past and his desire to know the truth, that draw Cecily further into the tangled web of the countess's life, and the place known as Temple Hill.