It is 1944. Anna Grant inherits a strange legacy from her mother, Dina: a treasure retrieved from a disaster in the Middle East, and a pile of yellowing notebooks. The handwritten pages hint at a world of elegant Victorian tables and lavish balls. Yet behind the apparent calm in the family lies a story of deception and betrayal.
Anna searches for the truth about her grandfather David. What was the catastrophe that left him orphaned in 1837? What brought his seemingly happy marriage to the brink of collapse? She retraces journeys, following a trail from Safed to Gibraltar, from London to Lisbon. While Anna uncovers layers of joy and sadness, revealing the reason for her mother's repressive behaviour, she copes with her own eccentric husband and the problems of bringing up a child in wartime Britain. But it is the final journey that unlocks the mystery of inherited misery. In her search for the origin of the treasure, Anna uncovers a secret that tormented David all his life.