Artist and theatre designer Broom is in her 50s and spending Christmas in the Alps working on a commission for an opera in Leipzig and trying to resolve her love life. Intercut with this story is that of Lockhart, with whom Broom once had an affair and who now must face his own past.
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Broom is in her 50s. An artist and theatre set designer, she is spending Christmas in the Alps working on a commission for an opera in Leipzig. Five years before, she had fallen passionately in love with the flawed but lovable Al. But their fiery and complex relationship was tragically cut short when Al was involved in an accident from which he didn't recover. After five years of mourning (and cellbacy) Broom is ready to engage with the world again - and it is here, in the Alps, that she meets Micky Flint, a slick, attractive 30-something advertising executive who is working on a new pitch. Intercut with this story is that of Lockhart, with whom Broom once had an affair. Returning for Christmas after many years to the family estate on the remote Scottish island of Callasay, he too is confronting his past: the younger brother he abandoned to the austerity of the island and who was instrumental in his love affair with Broom; and their autocratic father to whom Lockhart must break some painful family news. As Broom looks back on past lovers and how her life has unfurled, she becomes strangely drawn to Micky, her polar opposite. And for their own very different reasons an intimacy develops between them that will set Broom free from past relationships to emerge a revitalised woman. A highly involving and emotionally satisfying novel written with intelligence, maturity and wit by an author who commands huge respect in literary circles.
Alison Fell is Scottish. An award-winning poet, she is also a short story writer, novelist and anthologist. She regularly teaches a writing course at Arvon, has been a Writing Fellow at the University of East Anglia and is soon to take up a writing fellowship at UCL. She lives in London.