Quiet, withdrawn 13-year-old Rynn Jacobs lives peacefully in her home in a New England beach town. Whenever the prying landlady inquires after Rynn’s father, she politely claims that he’s in the city on business. But when the landlady’s creepy and increasingly persistent son, Frank, won’t leave Rynn alone, she teams up with kindly neighbor boy Mario to maintain the dark family secret that she’s been keeping to herself.
In France of the late 19th century, the wife of a wealthy general, the Countess Louise, sells the earrings her husband gave her on their wedding day to pay off debts; she claims to have lost them. Her husband quickly learns of the deceit, which is the beginning of many tragic misunderstandings, all involving the earrings, the general, the countess, & her new lover, the Italian Baron Donati.