Clean Break is told from the point of view of Em, or Emerald as she likes to be known, and is about what happens to her mum, gran, and two half-siblings, Maxie and Vita, when the man of the house leaves them for another woman. Her mum’s second husband, Frankie, is not her real dad, but he has been Em’s dad ever since she can remember. It’s an understandably traumatic departure.
Frankie leaves on Boxing Day morning and Em’s mum, Julie, is devastated. They all cling on to the hope that he will soon return to them, but it quickly transpires that he’s not coming back and that they’re all just going to have to deal with their new circumstances in whatever way they can. Gran just goes on criticising her daughter, which doesn’t help, but Em, Maxie and Vita find solace and comfort in their friends and heroes, real and imaginary.
Despite the story’s sad themes, Wilson always leaves the reader and her characters with the shoots of new, better beginnings and hope for the future.