By the author of A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar, an LA Times bestseller.
In 1920s Jerusalem, civic advisor Charles Ashton has an ambitious project to redesign the Holy City by importing English parks to the desert and knocking down Ottoman minarets. He employs William Harrington, a young British pilot, to take aerial photographs of the city. Palestine, under British administration, is a surprisingly peaceful place where British colonials, exiled Armenians, and Greek, Arab, and Jewish officials rub elbows and sip cocktails together at the Hotel Fast.
But times are changing and there are glimmers of trouble ahead, and Ashton’s young pilot is keeping two important secrets: the first that his war-time experiences have left him too terrified to fly, and the second that he has come to Jerusalem to track down his childhood love, Eleanora. Eleanora is now the wife of a famous Jerusalem photographer and Willie’s unlooked for arrival threatens her marriage and the life she has built for herself, particularly when he discovers that her husband is part of an underground nationalist group intent on removing the British.
Years later, in 1937, Ashton’s daughter Prue is an artist living a reclusive life with her son in Shoreham, Sussex, having escaped the pressures of the London art world and a damaging marriage. When Harrington pays her a visit what he reveals unravels her world. Prue must follow the threads that lead her back to secrets long-ago buried in Jerusalem and the unwitting consequences of her childhood actions.