Robert is at a crossroads in his life. Just retired from a brilliant career as a UN manager in humanitarian aid, he could work as a high-level consultant or pursue his childhood dream of becoming an artist.
He chooses the latter to the dismay of his wife Kay, twenty years his junior. Kay runs her own chic art gallery in New York and is a lover of Contemporary Art. She is horrified by his academic paintings. They fight over Art - he's square, she's cool - but what is at stake is their marriage. More separates them than diverging views on Art. Kay has a secret she has never revealed to Robert and when she breaks down and confesses, he is horrified. They separate, he goes to live in their country house in Italy, she stays in New York to run her gallery.
Women enter Robert's life, including fiery Natasha, an art photographer and her daughter Nour, a beautiful but deeply deranged young woman. But Kay is still in love with her husband, can she get him to return to her?
Best part of story, including ending:
This is one man's difficult journey to self-discovery at a time in life when, conventionally, he ought to know who he is, he is sixty years old and retired. But retirement is precisely the event that breaks down his daily routine, that puts everything he thought he knew about himself into question - including his marriage.He is truly at a crossroads and his life choices put in jeopardy a life-long love. In that sense, the story is a romance, but it is a highly unusual romance, exploring whether love the second time around is at all possible.
Best scene in story:
The "crimson clouds" doodle that Robert sends his wife via email and the closing line, "The memory of a lost love/ Lingers on" moves her enough to take the plane and join him in Umbria (chapter 18)
Opinion about the main character:
Robert is very human, he has his weaknesses and his dreams. So does his wife, and that is important because this book is truly a romance, the two characters' point of views alternate, making this book a gripping tale, as you enter in the minds of both the husband and the wife.