The world’s darkest hour had made her a ghost. Only he can see the light…
Rome, 1953: Hal and Stella meet by chance, two outcasts in a city far from home. Or perhaps it was the hand of the gods that night as the Eternal City welcomed the beautiful elite to its rooftops. It’s a bright awakening for Hal, he believes he’s found the love of his life – his Stella, his star.
To his dismay, the mysterious girl disappears as quickly as she swept in, and Hal’s life as a journalist falls back into its familiar routine. But when he’s asked by an Italian Contessa to assist on a trip of a lifetime – acting as the reporter on a tremendous yacht, skimming its way along the Italian Riviera towards Cannes film festival, the most famous movie stars and directors of the day as its cargo – Hal can’t believe his good fortune. Especially when a familiar beauty becomes passenger.
Yet not all that glitters is gold, for many secret histories lurk beneath the surface of these Bright Young Things. Stella is bound to a powerful and profoundly dangerous man, and as Hal’s obsession grows with every passing wave, they sail closer towards a tragic fate.
Hal Jacobs has been drifting through life since returning home from World War II. In 1953, he is eking out a living as a journalist in Italy when he is invited to join an Italian contessa on a sea voyage from Italy to Cannes to publicize her film, The Sea Captain. His job will be to write about the journey, and the pay is such that he can't refuse. The yacht's passengers are the glamorous stars of the film as well as the moneyed financiers that the contessa has assembled. When Hal sees the wife of one of the wealthy men aboard, he realizes that it's Stella Truss, with whom he had spent a night in Rome two years earlier and who has been impossible to forget. At first Hal and Stella try to ignore each other, but they are thrown together over and over: at dinner, on the dance floor, and on the moonlit deck. Before long their love affair is in full swing, fueled not only by their passion but also by their shared histories of losses and guilt. In her second novel, Foley (The Book of Lost and Found) weaves a very satisfying love story, and readers will be especially taken by the luxurious Mediterranean setting.