Lila Cunningham, motherless since babyhood, was almost twenty-one when her familiar, boring life in a small town on the Suffolk coast came abruptly to an end. It was 1938, and after many years of struggling she learned with a shock that her endearing but feckless artist father faced financial disaster. With the loss of their home imminent, they had no option but to accept an offer of a house in Malta, and on that hot and exotic island, in the magnificent but crumbling Villa Zonda , Lila at last glimpsed a chance of a life she had always dreamed of.
But war was looming, and Malta became the focus of Hitler's attention just as Lila became the focus of attention of three very different young men. As bombing devastated the island and Lila, along with the other inhabitants, learned to live with privation and fear, she also came slowly to realise the value of true love in all its forms, and the difference between hope and illusion.
In this enchanting new novel Joanna Trollope, writing as Caroline Harvey, captures all the warmth and romance of Malta as well as its dramatic sufferings during the second world war.