"Now she was beginning to wake out of her apathy. It is not too late, she told herself, to do something different with my life!" The offer of a summer post as governess to the granddaughter of a famous actress seems a dazzling prospect to Ellen Fenwick, far removed from the fireside teas and prize-givings of her Yorkshire high school. And the Villa Meridiana, surveying the Tuscan hills, with their vines and rows of silvery olives, provides a dreamlike setting for the new life she anticipates. Here she tastes her first cocktail, cuts her hair, becomes "Fenny" - and falls in love. But in this closeknit expatriate community, relationships are often not what they seem: as fascism threatens the heart of Italy, Fenny is forced to come to terms with both emotional and political realities. Moving from 1933 to 1949, this is a stirring account of Fenny's development and of the experiences which shape the resilient woman she becomes. Taken from the back cover of the 1987 Virago Penguin edition.