Set in the turbulent 1920's Ireland, when many Anglo-Irish are coming under arson attacks. Although having lived on their affluent estates for centuries. They feel at odds in a land that has been home to them. Here enters Lucy Gault's family. Disturbed and upset by the attempt to set fire to their house, they are thinking of returning to England. Lucy their daughter does not want to go, she loves her home.
On the day they are to leave she runs off. On the search for Lucy her parents mistakenly think that she is dead. They leave as planned and are torn apart by their loss. Lucy returns home and does get to stay there, with the family servants, who get to stay on.
Her parents never truly settle, drifting on to Italy and Switzerland, with no forwarding address for them.
Lucy grows up, lonely and sad. In comes Ralph who she really does love and he her, but feels she cannot commit to love unless she reconciles with her parents. Unfortunately WWII starts and they are left in Europe, where her mother dies. Her father eventually does return to his old estate, but too much time has passed for Lucy to regain what has been lost. Ralph has married someone else.
Eventually Lucy feels somehow responsible for the young man her father wounded defending his home against the arsonists. Trying to make a distorted recompense for her lost and stunted life.
I did not especially like this book, so wouldn't recommend it.