When art historian Max Morden returns to the village where he spent a childhood holiday, he is both escaping from a recent loss and confronting a distant trauma. During that long ago holiday the Grace family had appeared as if from another world. The adults were not like any he had ever met. His contemporaries, twins Myles and Chloe, fascinated Max. He grew to know them intricately, even intimately, and what ensued would haunt him for the rest of his years and shape everything that was to follow.