For Iris, childhood memories are of long hot summers spent playing with her cousin Rosmarie in her grandmother's garden, a place where redcurrants turned to pale tears on the branches of trees and beautiful Aunt Inga shook sparks from the tips of her fingers. But now her grandmother is dead and, along with inheriting the property, Iris finds that she also inherits her family's darkest secrets.
Reluctant to keep it, but reluctant to sell, Iris spends one more summer at the house. By day she swims at the local lake, where she rediscovers a childhood companion. Alone at night she roams through the familiar rooms, exploring the tall black shadows of the past. In the flicker between remembrance and forgetting, Iris recalls an enigmatic grandfather who went to war and came back a different man, the night her cousin Rosmarie fell through the conservatory roof and shattered her family's lives, and a moment of love that made the old tree in the orchard bloom overnight.