“It must have been May, or perhaps early June, because that morning my arms were full of delicate bleeding hearts and lily of the valley…”

An Edwardian house shrouded in ivy and secrets, Idyllwilde has been Charlotte’s home for much of her long, comfortable life. Charlotte has known love and loss, but as her health fails, she finds herself thinking more and more of the past — and the time has come to tell her story.

In 1910, she is betrothed to a serious-minded stranger, but drawn irresistibly to the vitality and passion of a wilder world; with the reluctant assistance of her maid and best friend, she crosses class lines and begins a fierce romance with a man her father would think most unsuitable.

In the present, Charlotte recounts her tale to her granddaughter Sarah, who is coming to terms with the unromantic reality of her own life and marriage. Separated by decades but united by experience, can Charlotte find peace and Sarah find purpose within the aging walls of Idyllwilde?

Idyllwilde is the lush, evocative debut novel from Elizabeth Rae Stevens, and is available now in digital and paperback editions.