Its not easy being the adoring mother of one, living in an eccentric tower in the middle of the English countryside coping with a short-sighted goat, a grumpy father-in-law and a dysfunctional swarm of bees, but Esme Slack manages it. Or does she? Sometimes the gob-smackingly gorgeous French sourdough bread she insists on making every day is the only thing she truly believes she is getting right. But is that because it tastes so delicious, or because it reminds her of the girl she once was and, more particularly, of Louis, the village boulanger who saved her from a life of being half-baked? All she has left of the Frenchman is the sourdough starter he gave her, made from the fermented juice of an apple planted 190 years before by his great-great-great-grandparents and still going strong in her kitchen cupboard until she meets him again by chance.