The first novel in the Idle Hour Series
The First World War is raging in Europe and the Thoresen family, bakers in Kristiania, have run short of flour. One day an invitation arrives for their eldest daughter Thea from one of their two aunts in America. She will be able to support the family financially by going to work for the well-to-do American Vanderbilt family. If she accepts, she will have to say goodbye to her sweetheart Hans who has marriage in mind.
Thea travels across the Atlantic to a life she could never have imagined. As a housemaid in the family’s holiday home Idle Hour on Long Island, she Discovers the existence of a fixed order of rank even among the servants. In this land of freedom for all, she realises everything is different. And Thea is at the bottom of the ladder, among the invisible ones.
She relies on her aunts, but they carry a secret that Thea is eventually forced to carry too in order to prevent their world from collapsing. And when the unfairness inherent in the Vanderbilt system also leads to consequences for the servants, Thea is forced to ask questions not only about what she feels to be right but also about