James Blackwell is sexy and handsome and a fighter pilot - every girl's dream partner. At least that is what Diana Arnold thinks when her brother first introduces them. Before long they are in love and marry hastily just as war is declared. Then fate delivers what is the first of its cruel twists: James, the day of their wedding, is shot down over Northern France and killed. Diana is left not only a widow but pregnant with their child.
The summer of 1976 was unprecedented in living memory. Days of blazing sunshine bled into weeks and months. In the Lake District, Cumbria's mountains and valleys began to resemble a Grecian landscape. People swam in delightfully tropic waters to cool off. But barely three feet below the surface, the temperature remained just a degree or so above freezing. As the summer blazed on, the drownings began....
Not until she was16 did Stella Arnold learn the full truth about her father, how handsome, charming James turned out to be a cold-blooded, psychotic extortionist, racketeer and killer. Knowing now what her father was capable of, she decides to study psychology and the criminal mind, and to further her education in America. In the spring of 1962 she flies to Boston where, being beautiful, bright and fashionably English, she becomes someone of huge fascination and on every invitation list.
Richard's grandfather had a childhood of almost unimaginable betrayal and sadness. His family abandoned him as a child to older relatives and emigrated without telling him. He grew up in a miserable situation and without any positive parenting role models yet managed to marry and have a son of his own. Richard's father was aware of his own father's discomfort and occasional frustration and anger, and grew to understand that this was due to his upbringing.