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When April Vogt's boss tells her about the discoveries in a cramped, decrepit ninth arrondissement apartment, the Sotheby's continental furniture specialist does not hear the words "dust" or "rats" or "shuttered for seventy years." She hears Paris. She hears escape.
Once in France, April quickly learns the apartment is not merely some rich hoarder's repository. Beneath the dust and cobwebs and stale perfumed air is a goldmine and not because of the actual gold (or painted ostrich eggs or mounted rhinoceros horns or bronze bathtub). First, there's a portrait by one of the masters of the Belle Epoque. And then there are letters and journals written by the woman in the painting, documents showing she was more than a renowned courtesan with enviable decolletage. Suddenly it's no longer about the bureau plats and Louis-style armchairs that will fetch millions at auction. It's about a life. Two lives, actually.
With the help of a salty (and annoyingly sexy) Parisian solicitor and the courtesan's private documents, April tries to uncover the secrets buried in the apartment. As she digs into one woman's life, April can't help but take a deeper look into her own. When the two things she left bubbling back in the States begin to boil over, April starts to wonder whether she'll ever find - in the apartment, or in her life - just what she's looking for.