James Whren is an ultra-talented and brilliant musician who lives and breathes music – he is also beautiful – not in a hunky, six-pack way, but mesmerizingly and charismatically so. Tragedy obliges him to visit his wealthy, estranged father's stately home – a fleeting visit which is one he is to regret. His father, misguidedly and cruelly, orchestrates a series of events which plunge this enigmatic young man into the depths of despair and torture that lead to desperate actions. He ultimately finds refuge in the arms of Elisabeth in the quiet countryside and sultry heat of Corfu, a beautiful young woman who is also seeking solace and quietude from her own personal tragedies.
His experiences however have destroyed him: his passion and gift for music seems to have escaped him irretrievably, his ability to connect with, love and trust a fellow human being is lost. The wise and rational Elisabeth and her baby son are tasked with the sometimes insurmountable challenge of helping James overcome his demons.
This really was an outstandingly conceived novel: the plot was original and well organised. The main characters were enthralling and arresting and you become hopelessly and hopefully embroiled in their lives. James' father is presented as a harsh and dispassionate man whom you dislike intensely – but he is yet another character that is superbly portrayed by the author, to the point that ultimately you manage to have some sort of understanding for what initially appear to be unforgiveable and unpaternal actions.
The Greek island was an inspired setting – the changing seasons of this Mediterranean island is the perfect backdrop and mirror every emotion that is experienced by both James and Elisabeth – individually and together. The searing summer heat intensifies your own feelings – the skill of this author is such that you can almost feel every tragic, painful, desperate, angry, hopeful and 'closure' moment - her style is intelligent and expressive, but never cumbersome or over-ambitious.