I had a little trouble figuring out the exact genre this book belongs to. I thought at first, because of the title, that it was going to be a thriller or mystery.  A fictional story that takes place in New York City in the 1980’s , it begins by introducing us to a precocious young girl named Cornelia Englehart.

Cornelia’s parents are divorced. She has never met her Father, and her Mother is a talented concert pianst who leaves her in the care of a French governess while she tours the world. Cornelia  is very lonely and sometimes feels the only reason anyone bothers about her at all is because of her famous Mother.  Cornelia retreats into the safety of written words and books.

One day she meets her new neighbor, elderly Virgina Somerset and her Indian friend Patel.  Is this a romance?   Cornelia’s outlook on life is changed forever! Virginia and her three sisters traveled the world together at the turn of the century and each room in her home is decorated like one of those places.  A Moroccan bedroom with palm trees and hanging lanterns, a French drawing room with white marble fireplaces and gilded mirrors, An English library with wood paneled bookshelves and velvet drapes.  Is this a fantasy?

As Ms. Somerset tells Cornelia of her past aventures, Cornelia opens up and begins to see the world in a new light.

This was a very moving book in places and at other times very funny.  It builds slowly, but is worth the wait.


Born to read, forced to work.

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