Wracked with the survivor guilt of D-day, World War II, a father returns to be reunited with wife and family in an idyllic Scottish village. The only daughter instinctively fears and rejects this 'man of war' she has never known and he too backs away, out of touch with his own emotions. The gulf opens. A story continues fraught with the unspoken conflict between the two and how it ripples out to those around them; the growing family, the pretty young wife, and crucially the marriage itself; the girl and the man in their own minds finding reasons to doubt they are truly father and daughter, a possibility not remote. The grief of one too young and the coldness of the other still grappling with flashbacks to the Normandy landings, make this novel a compelling read. Local history, legend and folktale are interwoven with community secrets and family skeletons - wolves and mirror-men, gods and bus conductresses, tinkers and film stars combine to form an uncanny cultural mix, rich in undercurrents that readers will recognise as the girl struggles to understand the mysteries of her existence.
Earthy and poetic, innocent and wise, funny and heartbreaking, the absence of words between these two characters - who would adore each other if only they could - make the language of this unusual story all the more mesmerizing; powerfully characterized and beautifully written.