University drop-out Jessica longs to do something different before getting a serious job and, tempted by the sensuous pull of la dolce vita, moves to Milan to work as an au pair, despite her inexperience with children. After a suffocating two-month stint in the suburbs, she finds a new position with a wealthy Italian family in the centre of the city, but soon realises that this family also have their faults. Although the children are adorable, she is treated like a servant by Cinzia, the ice-cold, snobbish, social-climbing mother who is trapped in a loveless marriage with the bullying, violent, unfaithful Edoardo. And it’s not long before he turns his attentions to Jess.
But she loves living in Italy and doesn’t want to leave her second job teaching English. Or the added temptations of various suitable and unsuitable Romeos. As the Brivio’s marriage disintegrates in front of her, Jess desperately searches to maintain her own integrity, avoid Eduardo’s overtures, and, above all, keep her sense of humour.