A dark secret hangs over the old rose gardener's house in the village of Le Variouf. And all the clues seem to point to its inhabitants' past—to the years of World War II, when the idyllic island of Guernsey was occupied by German troops...
The young teacher Franca Palmer is at the end of her rope. Her marriage is reaching a crisis point, and she barely feels capable of continuing to face the demands of her career, her husband, and day-to-day life. In a mad rush she leaves her comfortable home in Berlin and flees to the island of Guernsey in the English Channel; there she rents herself a room in the old rose gardener's house in the village of Le Variouf. In a short time, a peculiar, guarded friendship develops between her and her host, Beatrice Shaye. The older woman has lived on the charmingly situated property for many years with Helene Feldmann—tied together by fate in a relationship that is marked with repugnance and hatred. The two women appear to be bound to one another in a mysterious, incomprehensible way—dating back to the year 1940, when during the occupation of the Channel Islands by German troops, Helene and her husband Erich, a high-ranking officer, took Beatrice in as if she was their own child. From the beginning, the Feldmanns competed for Beatrice's favor, all the more so since, where his wife was concerned, Erich felt only contempt. So it was that with his death on May 1st, 1945, an agonizing phase in both women's lives came to an end. But nevertheless, a shadow still hangs over the house. And one day, another May 1st, there is again a death in Le Variouf.