To defend her debt-hounded father, Swiss governess Elisabeth (Marceau) accepts a financial proposition from an anonymous English aristocrat. She spends three nights with him in a quiet Normandy hotel and delivers a child nine months later. Seven years later fate brings them together again. Charles (Dillane) has since moved to Sussex with 'their' daughter Louisa (Belcourt), a rebellious girl who has seen off a string of governesses. Elisabeth, the latest incumbent, enters a strange household where Charles' wife remains a bedridden invalid, and Louisa spends hours of lonely reverie in a water-surrounded outhouse. First time director William (Shadowlands) Nicholson fails to disguise the air of contrivance hanging over this 19th century saga of thwarted maternal love. While young Belcourt makes an effectively moody contribution, the two central performances are less well-balanced. Dillane is as remote as he was in Welcome to Sarajevo; and Marceau, while showing characteristic determination, is never an actress to win much emotional empathy from the audience. Christopher Gunning's music over-compensates for their reticence and nearly drowns the lot in genteel syrup.