Something terrible happened to Catherine Gaillard when she was a small child -- something so traumatic that for thirty years she couldn't bring herself to leave Montview, the cloistered mountaintop college town in Tennessee where she grew up. But she has not missed the "real" world. Cat's life on the mountain has been wonderful. She adores her husband, who buttresses her against the world outside; she cherishes her country garden and her friends from the college. Montview has served her well. Now, for the first time, she and Joe have ventured out of their haven into the careening panorama of Italy to attend the Roman wedding of their Montview friends Colin and Maria.