Nicholas is running away, both from his marriage and an unfaithful wife, and the comfortable life he has known in Dublin. He buys a run down house in rural Cavan, right in the heart of Ireland, and embarks on a huge renovation project. While he is there, the house seems to speak to him - there are voices coming from an untraceable source, the seductive smell of baking seeps through the walls, and there is the unmistakable ethereal presence of a woman from the past.
She is June Fanning, an English woman who lived in the house in 1941. As her narrative combines with Nicholas's, the story of The Adulteress is revealed - and Nicholas begins to discover exactly what went wrong with his own marriage.