2015. Following the death of her husband, Tess has come to be a companion to Beatrice Crane, an elderly friend of her grandmother’s. With its hilltop position surrounded by stunning gardens, she’s found the perfect place to immerse herself in her passion for photography.
Beatrice is excited at the impending arrival of the villa’s rightful owner, who has been tracked down after decades of searching, and tells Tess it’s one of the children who was sheltered there in the war. Beatrice asks Tess to help her write down what happened during the war years, when Italy was torn apart by warring factions both from outside the country and within.
The courage of Francesca Robbia, the villa’s owner, who resisted clandestinely against the Fascists and the German occupiers and took in children from the cities in the north that were being devastated by bombing, helps Tess to process her grief and conflicting emotions at being the one left behind, giving Tess a new purpose and a new beginning.