Sofia is in a rut. Her dissertation work is stalled, and her life seems to be one gray day after another. When an elderly scholar, Monsieur Charles Vinson, invites her to his house in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon to spend the summer writing and cataloging his dead father's papers, she jumps at the offer. There, in the south of France, Sofia spends her days flipping through an archive of anti-Semitic papers and relics from the past century, burrowing deeper into the troubled history of the Vinson family. In the process, she will uncover secrets both innocuous and dangerous, and immerse herself in the measured and civilized life of the Vinson family - and, perhaps, find her own work worth doing.