Jean Loftus has lived at Asshe House for more than 40 years. Its tidy contours, the soft colors of the garden, speak to an orderly, gracious life, a supremely English life. But when workmen unearth a skeleton from that garden, the skeletons from Jean's past begin rising, similarly, to the surface. And the life they speak to - a childhood in Revolutionary Russia, chaotic years as a refugee between the two world wars - was neither orderly nor English. Zita Daunsey, Jean's neighbor in this cozy Sussex town, would like to help Jean protect her secrets. But this task is made more difficult with the sudden arrival of a mysterious, aggressively inquisitive Russian student.
Whose body has been moldering in the garden? What aging sins is Jean so anxious to conceal? And in trying to help the past stay buried, at what point does Zita become an accomplice to it?