"After the death of her mother, Ada reluctantly returns to her former home along the river with her young daughter, Pepper, to a house she left thirteen years earlier with no intention of ever returning. But Ada and Pepper find that they are intertwined, not only with the house, but with the life that Ada and her mother had. Lucy Wood weaves the reader into this story with a hint of mystery and a touch of other-worldliness, and her characters represent the insecurities we all feel at one time or another. A great first novel, I am anxiously awaiting more from this fine writer."--Reviewed by Jennifer— From Jennifer Recommends
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year.
Pearl doesn't know how she's ended up in the river--the same messy, cacophonous river in the same rain-soaked valley she'd been stuck in for years. But here her spirit swirls and stays . . . Ada, Pearl's daughter, doesn't know how she's ended up back in the house she left thirteen years ago--with no heating apart from a fire she can't light, no way of getting around apart from an old car she's scared to drive, and no company apart from her own young daughter, Pepper. She wants to clear out Pearl's house so she can leave and not look back. Pepper has grown used to following her restless mother from place to place, but this house, with its faded photographs, its boxes of cameras and its stuffed jackdaw, is something new. Fascinated by the scattering of people she meets, by the river that unfurls through the valley, and by the strange old woman who sits on the bank with her feet in the cold, coppery water, Pepper doesn't know why anyone would ever want to leave.
As the first frosts of autumn herald the coming of a long winter and Pepper and Ada find themselves entangled with the life of the valley, with new companions who won't be closed out, each will discover the ways that places can take root inside us, bind us together, and become us.
About the Author
Lucy Wood is the author of the critically acclaimed collection of short stories Diving Belles and Other Stories. She has been longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize, shortlisted for the Edge Hill Prize and was a runner-up in the BBC National Short Story Award. She has also been awarded a Somerset Maugham Award. Lucy Wood has a master's degree in creative writing from Exeter University. She lives in Devon.