The society wedding of Thomas, an idealistic German architect, and Irene, an English artist, brings together the Curtius and Benson families. Thomas and Irene settle into marital life in Berlin, until their lives are shattered by the outbreak of the First World War. While Irene struggles to survive in a country where she is the enemy, her sister Sophia faces the war as a nurse on the Western Front. For their brother Mark, diplomatic service sees him moving between London, Washington and Copenhagen, all the while struggling to confront his own identity. Against a backdrop of war and its aftermath, relationships are tested, sacrifices are made and Irene and her family strive to find their place in an evolving world.
Giles Waterfield is an independent curator and writer, the Director of Royal Collection Studies and Associate Lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art. He is a trustee of the Charleston Trust and a member of the National Trust Arts Panel and the Advisory Panel of the National Heritage Memorial Fund. He is also the author of three previous novels including The Long Afternoon which won the McKitterick Prize. He lives in London.