Ten-year-old Floriana is captivated by the magnificent Tuscan villa that overlooks the sea just outside her small village. She likes to spy from the crumbling wall into the gardens and imagine that one day she’ll escape her meager existence and live there surrounded by its splendor. Then, one day, Dante, the son of the villa’s powerful industrialist owner, invites her inside and shows her the enchanting Mermaid Garden. . . .
Decades later and hundreds of miles away, a beautiful old country hotel on England’s Devon coast has fallen on hard times. Its owner, Marina, hires an artist to stay for the summer and teach the guests how to paint. Charismatic and wise, he soon begins to pacify the discord in her family and transform the fortunes of the hotel. However, he is not who he seems, and whatever his intentions are, he is certain to change Marina’s life forever.
“Santa Montefiore is a superb storyteller….Her plots are sensual, sensitive and complex: her characters are unforgettable life forces: her love stories are desperate yet uplifting . One laughs as much as one cries.” --Plum Sykes, author of The Debutante Divorcee