Clarisse has lived in Provence for many years. After her husband Harry dies suddenly, she returns to England. She meets a priest called Gabriel and then a doctor called Victor. She had imagined becoming friends with both of them but she cannot condone Gabriel’s religious principles nor accept Victor’s strange behaviour, thereby increasing her mistrust of both priests and doctors. When she is diagnosed with breast cancer she has part of her breast removed and a course of radiotherapy but she refuses chemotherapy. She decides to visit her son in New Zealand but before she leaves, Denys, her accountant, defrauds her of money. The novel ends ambiguously in New Zealand.