The Palmer sisters are close. They see each other often, for shopping trips and casual suppers. They care for one another's children and houses and pets through holidays and emergencies. They lend each other books and spare heaters and clothes for special occasions. Their phones ring in a ceaseless round of chat about in-laws and job plans and anxieties and triumphs. They all agree that loyalty to one another always outweighs loyalty to boyfriends and lovers and husbands. And there are never any secrets. Not until now. Stella tells Bridie a rumour she's heard about Liddy's new boyfriend and, in no time at all, the sisters' relationships begin to unravel. Should Liddy be told? Bridie is certain and persuades her sisters to join her in this decision. But when Liddy reacts badly, the other two backslide and Bridie becomes the outcast, bereft of the support system upon which she has based her whole life and all her values. With surgical precision and a wry intelligence Anne Fine exposes the claustrophobic and potentially duplicitous nature of close family relationships. Secrets beget secrets, after all, and the final revelations are more than anyone has bargained for.
Raking the Ashes is Anne Fine's sixth novel for adults. Her first was the critically acclaimed The Killjoy. Taking the Devil's Advice and Telling Liddy have both been adapted for the radio. She is also a distinguished writer for young people, and has won the Carnegie Medal twice, the Whitbread Children's Award twice, the Guardian Children's Literature Award and a Smarties Prize. An adaptation of her novel Goggle-Eyes has been shown by the BBC, and Twentieth-Century Fox filmed her novel Madame Doubtfire as Mrs Doubtfire, starring Robin Williams. Her books have been translated into twenty-six languages. Between 2001 and 2003 she was the second Children's Laureate. Anne Fine has two grown-up daughters and lives in County Durham.