1939, and Will and Alice are evacuated to a granite farm in north Cornwall, perched on a windswept cliff. There they meet the farmer’s daughter, Maggie, and against shimmering barley fields and a sky that stretches forever, enjoy a childhood largely protected from the ravages of war.
But in the sweltering summer of 1943 something happens that will have tragic consequences. A small lie escalates out of all proportion. Over 70 years on Alice is determined to make amends – but has she left it too late?
2014, and Maggie’s granddaughter Lucy flees to the childhood home she couldn’t wait to leave thirteen years earlier, marriage over; career apparently ended thanks to one terrible mistake. Can she rebuild herself and the family farm? And can she help her grandmother, plagued by a secret, to find some lasting peace?
This is a novel about identity and belonging; guilt and atonement; the unrealistic expectations placed on children and the pain of coming of age. It’s about small lies and dark secrets; and how the need to love and be loved endures. But above all it’s about a beautiful, desolate, complex place.