Two women, Pearl Gibson and Lady Ottoline Campbell are the main characters in this historical fiction novel that starts at the beginning of World War I. All Pearl knows of her mother is that shortly after her birth, she committed suicide. Pearl grows up with her Aunt Kitty, living hand to mouth and when Kitty dies, Pearl goes to work with Lady Campbell. Their relationship becomes more than just servant and mistress, they become friends.
With the advent of the war, the Campbell's sons sign up to fight which does not end well. This tugs on the fragility that is Lady Ottoline's psyche and she spirals into depression. Pearl had had a relationship with Lady Ottoline's cousin, Ralph, who also goes off to fight. After he leaves Pearl finds out she is pregnant and with the help of Ottoline, she delivers a little girl, Lila, named after Ottoline. Life goes on peacefully if not tensely as everyone waits to see if their loved ones will come home from the war.
During this time, Ottoline's depression continues and she and Pearl have a falling out and Pearl and Lila leave and go back to London. There Pearl ekes out a life for her and her daughter.
This story takes place in three parts, just prior to the war, during the war and after the war. The reader becomes part of Pearl's life, the ups and downs, through love affairs and friendships. A beautifully written story that will keep the reader turning the pages, hoping that Pearl finds the love she seeks. A bit of a twist at the end was unexpected but welcomed! I loved this story that was reminiscent of stories by one of my other favorite authors, Lucinda Riley.