Like many of their British compatriots, Sophie and John Williams decide to follow their dream and go to France in order to find a house for their impending retirement. After several disappointments, their French estate agent, Jean-Christophe, shows them a converted barn that seems to meet all their requirements. When they move in they are surprised to find that the manager of the orphanage lodged in the adjacent house appears to resent their presence.
At about the same time Julie Smithers, a young woman in her thirties, leaves her routine job and a troubled romance in London and moves into a renovated house in a nearby village. She has resolved to write a book and is settling down to her new way of life when a faulty faucet brings her into contact with a handyman named Steve, another British expat.
Sophie and John try to get used to their new way of life in the beautiful French countryside, but are hampered by their ignorance of the French language and culture, resulting in misunderstandings with local workers as well as mishaps in restaurants and elsewhere. Some of the unfortunate incidents are amusing while others are downright annoying. Julie and Steve embark on a passionate romance, but that, too, is not without its ups and downs.
Matters become increasingly ominous for Sophie and John, as their neighbor appears to become increasingly hostile towards them. Eventually, after attempting to resolve the conflict by peaceful means as well as by raising their garden wall, John and Sophie decide to complain to the local police. The situation takes an ominous turn when their neighbor enters their house with murderous intent.
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Born and brought up in post-war London, the daughter of refugees from Hitler’s Germany, Dorothea Shefer-Vanson now lives in Israel, and has worked most of her life as a translator, editor, and writer. She has a B.A. from the London School of Economics and an M.A. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Now retired from translating, she devotes her time to writing, and has published four novels to date. She is married to a physicist, and together they have three children, eight grandchildren, and one grand-dog. She also enjoys painting in watercolors, and her pictures adorn the covers of her books. She is an avid fan of classical music, and every room in her house – including the smallest – has a radio tuned to the classical music program. She enjoys traveling and her books reflect her experience of living in England, Israel, France, and the USA.