A beautiful, atmospheric novel about family, love, loss, and regret by a critically acclaimed author "How deep the summer had bitten into the land that last August, how cruelly it had burnt into earth and grass and air. What had started out as a pastel and water-faded spring turning so unexpectedly into a splintering, shimmering thing. All that had been required was a spark to cause a fire. Why had no one noticed?" The summer of 1939 broke the Maudsley family. Cecily was only13-years-old and desperate to grow up; desperate to be as beautiful and desired and reckless as her older sister Rose. Now, in her 40s, the family resemblance is uncanny, but Cecily is a shadow of her former self. A part of her died that fateful summer. Returning to the deserted family farm as an adult, Cecily recalls the light before the storm, before the war came and before the terrible family tragedy. It was a summer of laughter and ice cream, promises and first love. She remembers her father s unrequited love for her, her melancholy mother, and her brittle and argumentative aunt Kitty, and how everyone, somehow, was guarding a secret. None more so than the impossibly beautiful Rose. And in her childhood innocence, between snatches of misunderstood conversations, Cecily helps set in motion a chain of devastating events. Wandering through the family home29 years later, Cecily hopes to lay some ghosts to rest but the past has yet to give up some shocking secrets."
Roma Tearne is a Sri Lankan-born novelist and filmmaker whose books include "Bone China" and "Mosquito." She has been short-listed for the Costa, the Kirimaya, and "Los Angeles Times" Book Prize and long-listed for the Orange Prize and the Asian Man Booker.