Sophie Barrett lives an odd, cautious life, until the morning she arrives to find her colleague - a man she thought she understood - has committed suicide in the basement of the shop where they both work. The death - violent and apparently inexplicable - raises frightening, long-buried questions that Sophie can no longer afford to ignore. To answer them, she must return to the summer she was fourteen and a friendship between three very different girls, bound together by time and place and by a secret that will change their lives forever. In their small, muffled world of untidy bedrooms, back gardens and shabby meeting places, they wait for life to start. Julia, all energy and swagger, Nancy, lost in her own peculiar universe, and Sophie, the follower, fearful and admiring. But while they dream, events are already in motion that will propel them towards tragedy, taking their innocence and threatening their friendship itself. This is a gripping novel of guilt and longing and the grief of lost chances. Set in the strange, bewildered age between life past and life still to come, this compelling story explores the ways we lose - then find ourselves again.
Tania Unsworth is British and lives in Massachusetts. This is her second novel.