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Single parent, Stuart, has his hands full with his teenage daughter and a demanding job as a conservation officer. Sometimes it seems easier to take refuge on one of the reserves he manages than to try to deal with his daughter's teenage moodiness. He knows she is finding life hard after her mother's recent death, but he isn't finding it easy either. The truth is, he doesn't know how to make her feel better. Things aren't made any easier when he gets himself involved with a married woman. Out on the reserves, or in his workshop, Stuart is at ease; surrounded by nature he can forget his domestic problems. The story follows Stuart as he champions an innovative scheme to involve prisoners with his conservation work, as he encourages three unlikely volunteers to build an otter holt, and witnesses his joy when he realises that a pair of otters is in residence. But Stuart is so engrossed in the growing family of otters, so determined to protect them, that he forgets there are people who need him. His daughter withdraws, his best friend has a breakdown and his lady-friend loses patience with him. His life is disintegrating but he barely notices.
Stuart's euphoria quickly turns to pain as tragedy overtakes the otters, but he has made such a secret of them that he cannot share his pain with anyone. It takes the intervention of a kind-hearted vet to gently make Stuart realise that the people in his life are just as important as the otters. Gradually he shares the secret of the otters with the people he loves and, in doing so, finds that his daughter has inherited his own love of nature. Underneath all this is a serious insight into conservation work. It is entertaining thought-provoking, and highly readable.
Stuart Sands was born in Cheshire. After leaving school at fifteen he sought new experiences in life with the full impetuosity of youth. Each new experience, from driving a steam train, to building a bridge, enriched his soul. Stuart has two passions in life - the first being a love of the countryside, which he indulged himself as often as possible. The second, was the deep seated yearning to write books. Well, here we are.