In a house torn open by shelling that balances precariously on 'the line' dividing East and West Beirut, Madeleine lives out her days like a Lebanese Miss Havisham. On the other side of the world, Madeleine's orphaned grandson Rick is summoned by his guardians and ordered to leave Seattle to stay with the grandmother he has never met. Madeleine gleefully awaits Rick's coming, anticipating the amusement she can derive from pulling the young tearaway back into line. But when he arrives, wide-eyed and idealistic, Madeleine is surprised by the feelings he provokes in her. Rick in turn is unprepared for the violence, chaos and colour of 1980s Beirut. But as grandmother and grandson begin to negotiate a tentative relationship, Rick finds both horror and love in the damaged city, and Madeleine is forced to shake off her long-preserved isolation as they find themselves sucked into the whirlwind of the civil war.
Half-English and half-American, Patricia Tyrrell lives in Cornwall, after living for some years in the US. Her self-published novel THE PROMISED LAND was the runner-up for the Sagittarius Award in 2001, and her 300-copy self-published edition of THE RECKONING was shortlisted for the Encore Award in 2003.