Anita's mother was the mermaid in the Belle Vue Fair Freak Show. Into their lives came Paddy Riley, a young Irish lad whose motto was 'the only crime in life is not to take up a good opportunity'. The opportunity was Anita's mother - hungry for love and romance. Their secret is safe until young Anita, their go-between, spins a jealous lie that tragically catches them all. Now grown with children of her own, Anita has found a kind of peace with a sweet husband, and the past is past. Until that is, a man not unlike Paddy Riley comes to their town. It's an 'opportunity' that Anita cannot, for the life of her, seem to resist.
Carol Birch was born in 1951 in Manchester. Her first novel, LIFE IN THE PALACE, won the 1988 David Higham Award for the Best First Novel of the Year. In 1991 she won the prestigious Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize with THE FOG LINE.