Penelope Keeling, a sixty-four-year-old daughter of a famous artist, reflects on her life, and the fate and choices that defined it, when she arrives in the Mediterranean to stay with her headstrong daughter. Shifting through time, and falling into place like the pieces of a jigsaw, the truth of Penelope's rich, heartbreaking and surprising life unfolds.
Andrew Christie runs the traditional Dolphin hotel in Cornwall, specialized in weddings and honeymoons, but competition from cheap holidays overseas becomes crushing. After his disloyal wife Nell deserts to apply as manager in the Maldives, their main tour operator intends to cancel, which would spell bankruptcy. Andrew comes up with a modern alternative, hosting traditional weddings for Indian couples. to sell the idea, he pretends to be backed by an Indian wife. To fill the part urgently, he enlists part-time maid Rajani Sharma, a, art student, whose father, banker Murali Sharma, wants to go ahead with her arranged marriage to Tarun, from India.
London lawyer Owen Lockhart inherited a distant uncle's grand but run-down Cornish coastal estate and moves in with the intent to sell it. Senior constable Maxwell Breckett's wife Adele, his late uncle's secretary, hopes to change Owen's mind by rallying local clients and hiring as cook foxy local agricultural engineer Holly Heston, fatherless boarding school pupil Toby's single mother. She's in love with constable Lucas Corbin, the only one into whom she confided a grim family secret, but he finds out about her fast-budding affair with Owen.
When Judith Dunbar is sent to boarding school she makes friends with the wild and carefree Loveday Carey-Lewis. Loveday introduces Judith to her glamorous and wealthy family and their enchanting Cornish ancestral home.
When Colonel Carey-Lewis dies, his irrepressible daughter, Loveday, inherits Nancherrow and fights to keep it alive so that her son Nat will eventually take over from her.
Valentine is famous for writing parenting guide books and being the perfect woman, wife and mother. But out of the blue, her husband announces he wants a divorce, and their children side with him. As their daughter is about to marry, circumstances repeatedly force the estranged spouses back together.
Rebecca Kendall has it all: a stunning house, two wonderful daughters and a handsome, loving husband. When Richard dies in a plane crash, Rebecca slowly learns the full extent of her husband’s lies and deceit.