Through the cool, bright air of the Himalayan mountains near Darjeeling, the old Palace shines like a pale jewel.
In the days when it was the General's 'harem' palace, ladies with their retinues and rich clothes could be seen walking on the high windy terraces.
At night, music floated out over villages and gorges far into the early hours. Now the General's son has bestowed it upon the disciplined Sisters of Mary.
Beginning work in the orchards and opening a school and a dispensary for the mountain people, the small band of Sisters are dependent for help on the English agent Mr Dean.
But his charm and insolent candour are disconcerting. When he says bluntly "This is no place for a nunnery", it is as if he already knows their destiny...
"A very remarkable novel indeed. One in a thousand."
"The writing is lovely, subtle, gentle, humorous."
"A genius for storytelling."