Rose Pinner Knight, abruptly widowed and homeless, is in a quandary. Should she return to New York City in spite of the fact that she is no longer able to return to her job as an antiquarian book seller’s assistant, or remain in Britain and try to start a small business? She has an idea but will it work?
She finds a job as a last resort in the London household of a now elderly but once famous chef, severely afflicted with arthritis. The chef’s gardener, a bitter ex-soldier, comes and goes as he pleases as he has been given keys to the house. The woman’s relatives, also with keys, come to pursue their own agenda but are outmanoeuvred into hiring Rose on a month’s probation.
Can Rose engage her employer’s interest in recalling and recording her past? What can she do to help the truanting child in the wood? How can she avoid the caustic tongue of the gardener? She finds herself in a bleak place without friends or help but allows herself to reach out to those around her. This may be a waste of effort of course.