On the face of it, Claire and William have a perfect marriage and family. They also have an impeccably restored cottage in the country that looks like it belongs in a magazine. It will be in a magazine, in fact: Idyllic Home plans to feature the house in its Christmas issue. But to meet its deadline, it‘s scheduling the photo shoot in two days—in the middle of a heat wave in July.
The publicity would help Claire’s growing vintage textile business—and at first William likes the idea of showing off the results of all his renovations. But soon he’s complaining that the photo shoot is disrupting his plans to build a summer house in the garden. Sometimes, Claire thinks, William loves the house more than he loves her.
Then Stefan, the photographer, shows up. He’s eager to get started. He’s also unsettlingly attractive, and just mysterious enough to make Claire feel a bit off-balance.
Claire is beginning to see how her ideal life may not be so idyllic after all—and that creating the perfect house isn’t always the best way to create a happy home.
- Penguin Publishing Group, August 2012
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