The Bay of Noon
by Shirley Hazzard (Penguin, 1970)
“Passion and Intrigue in the Shadow of Vesuvius!” An Englishwoman working in Naples, young Jenny has no friends; only a letter of introduction to an acquaintance of an acquaintance. It is a letter that will change her life. Through the letter she meets Gioconda, a beautiful and gifted writer, and Gioconda’s lover, Gianni, a famous Roman film director. And at work she encounters Justin, a Scottish marine biologist whose studied distance is strangely attractive to her. As Jenny becomes more and more involved with these people, she finds herself leaving England behind forever.