Marta Demir, a successful attorney with an international trade company based in New York City, travels to Istanbul to sort out a dispute over pasta exportation between Turkey, Italy, and the United States. On the airplane from New York, Marta’s seatmate, an elderly Greek man named Vasilli Vassilios, shares his story of exile from Constantinople as a child. He is returning to the land of his birth in response to a letter informing him of the death of his brother, whom he has not seen or heard from in over seventy-five years.
Although she is at first unwilling to involve herself in Vasilli’s problems, it eventually becomes a relief from the pasta case and Marta is drawn to help her new friend. Their search for his family leads the pair to visit Buyuk Ada, an island in the Marmara that is home to many wealthy Turkish and minority families. There, rather than find information about Vasilli’s past, Marta is shaken to learn that her mother perished shortly after she left the country. As Vasilli and Marta search throughout Turkey to find clues to their family secrets, they discover the warmth and beauty of the Turkish countryside and her people.