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In Heidelberg, Germany, over the course of a hot week in July, two gentle souls begin a prelude to love, testing the pull of romance against the weight of their family histories.
After fifteen years in a relationship with a man she did not love, Ute Pfeiffer has returned from Ireland to find her father, Julius, in decline and her mother, Christa, more distant than ever. The last thing she needs is to fall for another Irishman. But when she sees Seanie Donnellan driving over a hen in her parents’ yard, something seems to shift in her cautious heart.
Ute has given up on love and Seanie has never really known it. He also knows nothing of her family’s unspoken history during the war, nor how Ute muted this sadness with a sheltered life that she hated. But Seanie is a strange and charming young man with emotional aches of his own, confounding all of her expectations and daring her to hope for the first time.
As her father returns to a kind of childhood, and her mother’s longing spills over in the revelation of a family secret, Ute must decide if falling in love is something that happens to other people or if it’s a choice only she can make.