This exquisitely imagined novel opens as William rescues Caroline from a life of drudgery in Germany and brings her to England and a world of music making and stargazing. Lina, as Caroline is known, serves as William's assistant and the captain of his exhilaratingly busy household. William is generous, wise, and charismatic, an obsessive genius whom Lina adores and serves with the fervency of a beloved wife. When William suddenly announces that he will be married, Lina watches her world collapse.
"Great fictional biography of an overlooked figur"
From the author of The Rope Walk, the story of a woman's life in its twilight, as she looks back on both a harrowing childhood and the unaccountable love and happiness that emerged from it. As the novel opens we see the Derry School in all its glorious New England fall colors and witness the loosening of the aging Peter's grasp - he will soon have to retire, and Ruth is wondering what they will do in their old age, separated from the school into which they have poured everything, including their savings.
At her 10th birthday party in the garden of her Vermont home, Alice meets two people unlike any she's known before: Theo is a mixed-race New York City kid; Kenneth is a cosmopolitan artist with AIDS. Alice and Theo form an instant bond and find themselves drawn into the orbit of the magisterial artist. But Kenneth is losing his eyesight, and when Alice and Theo begin reading to him from the journals of Lewis and Clark, they decide to embark on a wilderness adventure of their own - with unexpected results.