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Exotically beautiful but desperately unhappy, Alba lives on a houseboat on the Thames, where she enjoys a life of leisure and entertains an endless and unfulfilling succession of lovers. But then she discovers a portrait of her dead mother, Valentina -- a woman she'd hardly known, whose story has been kept from her by her still grieving father. Determined to learn the truth about Valentina, Alba returns to the olive groves of the Amalfi coast of Italy. There she uncovers a mysterious tale of decadence, deception, murder, and betrayal involving partisans and Nazis, peasants and counts. Alba's journey leads her not only to the truth of her mother's hidden past but to the possibility of happiness in her own future.