A young Englishwoman working in Naples, Jenny comes to Italy fleeing a history that threatened to undo her. Alone in the fabulously ruined city, she idly follows up a letter of introduction from an acquaintance and so changes her life forever. Through the letter, she meets Giocanda, a beautiful and gifted writer, and Gianni, a famous Roman film director and Giocanda’s lover. At work she encounters Justin, a Scotsman whose inscrutability Jenny finds mysteriously attractive. As she becomes increasingly involved in the lives of these three, she discovers that the past–and the patterns of a lifetime–are not easily discarded.