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Once it had been the great forest of Lythe - a vast and impenetrable thicket of green.And here, in the beginning, lived the Fairfaxes, grandly, at Fairfax Manor, visited once by the great Gloriana herself. But over the centuries the forest had been destroyed, replaced by Streets of Trees.The Fairfaxes have dwindled too; now they live in 'Arden' at the end of Hawthorne Close and are hardly a family at all. But Isobel Fairfax, who drops into pockets of time and out again, knows about the past. She is sixteen and waiting for the return of her mother - the thin, dangerous Eliza with her scent of nicotine, Arp ge and sex, whose disappearance is part of the mystery that still remains at the heart of the forest.
Kate Atkinson won the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year prize with her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum. Her four bestselling novels featuring former detective Jackson Brodie became the BBC television series Case Histories, starring Jason Isaacs. Her 2013 novel Life After Life won the South Bank Sky Arts Literature Prize, was shortlisted for the Women's Prize, voted Book of the Year for the independent booksellers associations on both sides of the Atlantic. It also won the Costa Novel Award, as did her new novel A God in Ruins (2015). She was appointed MBE in the 2011 Queen's Birthday Honours List, and was voted Waterstones UK Author of the Year at the 2013 Specsavers National Book Awards.