Harry Fox Talbot has become famous recasting local folk songs to create spectacular new classical musical works. But emotionally crippled by the loss of his wife, he exists in miserable solitude in Hartgrove Hall, the Dorset home in which he and his brothers had grown up. One day, desperately trying to entertain his troublesome four-year-old grandson, Robin, he opens his piano and the boy reveals an extraordinary inherent understanding of the complexity of music, and a prodigy’s dexterity in playing. Teaching Robin breathes new life into Harry, reconnecting him with the world he had abandoned and forcing him to face long passed demons.
Solomon transports the reader back and forth in time between the present and the post-war years when the three Fox-Talbot brothers had first returned to Hartgrove Hall ”submerged in lonely and silent anxiety at the prospect of our reunion.” They find the historic house, which had been