A moving and intensely felt examination of the lengths to which we will go to seek protection and security in others. Returning to haunted Cornish landscapes familiar from other Gale novels, it is the story of individuals in search of a family.
Dido, the nine-year-old heroine and emotional centre of Patrick Gale's latest painful comedy, knows that the adults who surround her, the adults who should know better, depend on her for happiness. So who is she to turn to when her short life turns upside down and tragic family history threatens to repeat itself.
Eliza, the clever, depressive aunt who has brought Dido up, and whose brilliant academic career has foundered due to the demands of unlooked-for motherhood, tries and fails to give Dido the happy normal childhood she never had herself. Her ex-husband Giles needs Dido back in his life, feeling it has lost all meaning, all substance, without her. Then there is Pearce, the new love interest in Eliza'a life, desperate to give Eliza and Dido the security and protection they need. But will Eliza let him? Does she love him or is she using him to restart a stalled career?
Only Dido, unheard of in the clamour of others' needs, has the power to make or break the happiness of these children in adult clothing.