Hebe listens in the darkness of the hall to a family conference. The stern hypocrisy of her grandfather is winning the day. He has summoned her three horsey sisters' successful husbands and they are discussing Hebe's unexpected pregnancy.
The decision, unanimous, is that it be terminated. Hebe, dissenting, flees into the night. Twelve summers later she is living happily alone with her son in a seaside town in Cornwall.
He is receiving an expensive education. Hebe has organised her life oddly but well. She has two chief talents in life - cooking and making love - and these she has exercised with dignity, in privacy and for profit.
It is when separate strands of the web of Hebe's life become entangled that the even tenor of her days is threatened, and her life is changed.
"Delightful, intelligent entertainment" * Sunday Telegraph *
"Tremendously lively, very funny, touching, spirited" * Susan Hill *
"Hugely enjoyable" -- Nicholas Shakespeare * The Times *
"Warm, wise, witty, sexy" * Boston Globe *