Rylla Campbell is determined to rescue her brother from a life of dissipation, whether he wants to be rescued or not. But how to find him amid the gambling hells of Regency Edinburgh? By disguising herself as a young man, of course! Her scheme seems to be working, until Lord Gregory Rose sees through her rather fetching disguise - and steals a kiss that thrills Rylla to the tips of her toes. Maybe Lord Rose is just what she needs to continue her quest to bring her brother home by Christmas.
Edinburgh basks in glorious, but brief, summer sunshine, and Isabel Dalhousie - philosopher, philanthropist and mother - searches for the perfect birthday present for her husband Jamie. While carefully seeking out a gift, Isabel finds herself at a viewing for an auction, and happens upon an old friend in distress - a friend who decides to unburden herself of her secrets, and to reveal a clue within a painting hanging on the walls of the auction house.
From a small town outside Edinburgh comes the news that a young boy has been recounting vivid recollections of a past life: a perfect description of an island off the coast of Scotland which he couldn't possibly know and a house there where he claims to have spent his former life. When the boy's mother asks Isabel to investigate his claims, she feels she must - of course! - help them learn the truth, and she and her husband, Jamie, set off for the island.
Summer in Edinburgh is a season of delicate sunshine and showers, picnics with loved ones in blossoming gardens and genteel celebrations of art and music. But Isabel Dalhousie's peaceful idyll is broken when a single meeting over coffee with fellow philosopher Dr George McLeod brings an irate phone call from his wife, Roz, who implacably accuses Isabel of conducting an affair with her husband.
Isabel Dalhousie - philosopher, mother and friend - is taking on the mammoth task of hosting her school reunion. In the hours before 25 former classmates descend on her home and the caterers arrive to set up a buffet, Isabel has time to reflect. She is mindful of the fact that reunions can bring up all sorts of uncomfortable feelings. Later that night, with the party in full swing, Isabel realises that the pull of the past remains as strong as ever.