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.