'You wouldn't take on a cleaner without checking out their references. What possessed you to do it with a husband?'
When Mel, an Australian abroad, falls in love with Rufus, the archetypal Englishman, she has no idea what she's letting herself in for. But it is only when their azure Mediterranean courtship is transported to the green fields of England that Melody's doubts set in. For Rufus is heir to the thousand-year-old Bourton Allhallows estate, and Melody is soon painfully aware that, in his family's eyes, an antipodean backpacker is far from the ideal wife.
Trapped in a way of life she assumed had long vanished - awash in a stew of formal meals, unhampered snobbery, incomprehensible rules and crumbling masonry - Melody begins to fear for the future of her marriage. And when ancient and not-so-ancient secrets begin to emerge, she faces the disturbing realization that the stakes are far, far higher than she'd imagined ...