‘You love the boy body and soul, plainly, directly, as he loves you . . .’
Lucy has her rigid, middle-class life mapped out for her until she visits Florence with her uptight cousin Charlotte, and finds her neatly ordered existence thrown off balance.
Her eyes are opened by the unconventional characters she meets at the Pension Pertolini: flamboyant romantic novelist Eleanor Lavish, the Cockney Signora, curious Mr Emerson and, most of all, his passionate son George.
Lucy finds herself torn between the intensity of life in Italy and the repressed morals of Victorian England, personified in her terminally dull fiancé Cecil Vyse. Will she ever learn to follow her own heart?