"A lush and evocative novel of the Gilded Age period, brought vibrantly to life in this powerful work." (Anne Girard, author of Madame Picasso)
Pearl and Ginevra grow up in the era known as the Gilded Age in Newport, Rhode Island. One lives above the stairs, the other below.
Surrounded by Astors and Vanderbilts, Pearl fills her days with teatime and shallow friendships, yearning for something more. A chance meeting with Mary Cassatt sparks her secret desire to be an artist. Meanwhile, Ginevra, fresh off the boat from Italy, finds her own dreams out of reach as she joins the unwelcoming household as a servant and seamstress.
Kindred souls, the girls become fast friends but must keep their friendship hidden from Pearl’s controlling mother. Every summer, they meet in a hidden spot beneath the weeping beeches to talk of art and life, and their struggles to break the barriers of their lives.
Soon, the two young women must decide who they want to be in this world, and survive what it takes to get there…no matter what it takes.