Elodie Winslow is an archivist in London who discovers a leather satchel containing a photograph and a sketchbook.
She is intrigued by what she has found and soon discovers interesting facts about a group of artists from the 19th century who spent time together at a manor house in the English countryside.
She’s senses there is something to this sketchbook and there are connections that she can’t quite put her finger on.
The novel opens up further to tell the story of the artists, their friends and, specifically, a very special artist’s model.
The story goes back and forth in time, peeling away discoveries, loves, secrets and death.
The title character is the model and is almost a Cinderella figure. She is discovered by a man from a wealthy family who has broken ranks with them because of his lifestyle.
Their relationship develops despite their different backgrounds — but things are not right.
And there are casts of characters in both time periods that bring the story to life.
Kate Morton, author of the Lake House and the House in Riverton, is adept at moving between time periods and keeping the stories separate but leaves just enough of a thread to tie them together — and you need to follow the thread.
Her writing is elegant, especially her descriptions of the countryside and manor.
This historical mystery has great depth and brings the reader great satisfaction.