1944, in the ruined wine cellar of a Tuscan villa, as the Allied troops advance and bombs fall around them, two strangers meet and share an extraordinary evening together.
Ulysses Temper is a young British soldier, Evelyn Skinner is a sexagenarian art historian and possible spy. She has come to Italy to salvage paintings from the wreckage and relive memories of the time she encountered EM Forster and had her heart stolen by an Italian maid in a particular Florentine room with a view.
These two unlikely people find kindred spirits in each other and Evelyn's talk of truth and beauty plants a seed in Ulysses that will shape the trajectory of his life and of those who love him for the next four decades. Moving from the Tuscan Hills and piazzas of Florence, to the smog of London's East End, this is a sweeping, joyful, richly-peopled novel about beauty, love, family and fate.