Cantabrian Summer, Baltic Winter
A chance encounter while shopping in a northern Spanish fishing port draws delectable, half-French, half-Polish Tamara von Rosenberg into friendship with Martin Haynes, a freelance writer and translator living in a nearby village. Their relationship, kindled through mutual intellectual interests, soon blossoms into caring, passionate affection. Tamara's idyllic holiday in Cantabria is brought to a premature and unhappy end when news reaches her that her widower father is dying following an inexplicable road accident on a remote Polish country lane.
Tamara and Martin try in vain to solve the mystery of Ruben's death. Meanwhile, Tamara's perseverance with her late father's ambition to transform a derelict 19th century mansion into a nursing home is met with spiteful opposition. Certain individuals will resort to radical means to wrest the property from her hands.
Poland plunges into a bleak and bitter winter of political turmoil and economic chaos amid growing opposition to the government's positive stance of future European Union membership. Nationalistic sympathies run high, and there is a renaissance of historic feuds. Tamara and Martin soon discover that staying alive in remote Rybkowo is a formidable challenge.