Sheila Hersh is spending her early thirties leading a double
life. She hangs out at the cool Firenze Bar at night, has a
closetful of black clothes, and is even the reluctant star of an
underground film. By day she writes ad copy for her father's store,
Hersh's House of Mattresses (where she is instructed to use a lot
of exclamation points), and manages to keep the rest of the
employees - her outspoken, ambitious aunt and her stylish but
ineffectual uncle - on an even keel.
The only thing that really keeps her interest is a mysterious
book of poems that belonged to her dead mother. Sheila feels that
if she could find out more about the obscure Viennese poet who died
at the age of twenty-three in 1938, it might lead her to a greater
understanding of her mother - and even of herself.
Sheila travels to Vienna, where the city's ancient streets,
aromatic coffee houses, and glorious music work an unexpected magic
on her. As this literary mystery unravels, Sheila's familial bonds
become more palpable. Surprising discoveries and chance meetings
make this a delightful novel, funny, moving, and romantic.