Few of the eccentric inhabitants of her father’s Main Line, Philadelphia, estate have much time for Fleur Robins, an awkward child with a devotion to her ailing grandfather, a penchant for flapping and whirling, and a preoccupation with God and the void.
While her mother spends much of her time with her hand curled around a wine glass and her abusive father congratulates himself for rescuing babies from the devil abortionists, Fleur mourns the fallen petals of a rose and savors the patterns of light rippling across the pool.
When she fails to save a baby bird abandoned in her garden, a series of events unfold that change everything. For one thing, her handsome new tutor, Adam Manus, sees her unusual potential and introduces her to Nobel Prize winner Stanley H. Fiske, who brings her out to Caltech to mentor her in quantum physics.
Fleur puts her preoccupation with the void to good use, making discoveries that promise to ease humanity’s dependency on fossil fuels. But for all her brilliance, she is still a young girl, losing her virginity in a moment of naivete and learning the hard way to value the irreplaceable gift of friendship.