In this eighth installment in Alexander McCall Smith's captivating Isabel Dalhousie series, our irrepressible heroine tries to untangle complex questions about both the past and the present. Isabel's new friend Jane Cooper, a visiting Australian philosopher who was adopted as a small child, has come to Edinburgh searching for information about her biological father. Naturally, Isabel is more than happy to offer her services. At the same time, she must find time for her own concerns: her young son Charlie, who's leaving babyhood further behind each day; her housekeeper Grace, who has recently begun getting financial advice from her spiritualist; her niece Cat, who's in a new relationship, and the most pressing question of all: when and how Isabel and Jamie will finally get married. As she investigates the forgotten affairs of youth Isabel begins to wonder what those affairs lead to in the present, and in the process she discovers a whole new understanding of the meaning of family.