Once three women had staked their lives in Spain. Rich, lovely Dolly had come first, accompanied by her devoted servant Patterson. Hannah, her unattractive and poor cousin had come later, sent by the family to dissuade Dolly from marriage to a Spanish nobleman. Now, years later, Dolly is supposedly long dead, her death shrouded in mystery and Hannah is very much alive. She's rich, famous as an antique/art dealer and the survivor of a marriage that has brought two children. Hannah is also accompanied and strangely dominated by the servant Patterson. The novel begins with the entrance of Hannah's niece Emily, practically the young Dolly's double, a concert pianist whose career had been ruined in an accident. Emily has been summoned ostensibly to give piano lessons to Hannah's neurotic grandaughter but actually she has been brought because of factors related to the past...and the past catches up. If this sounds melodramatic, it is. But it's exceptionally good melodrama as well as a defined portrait of a dominant yet fascinating woman who could be both appealing and appalling. The author has the right feminine touch.