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On a perfect August morning in 1967, above a river just outside a small town in the north of Canada, a young man meets his death.
And so begins the unravelling of his best friend Tom's already precarious family.
Eighteen months on, and the town of Struan is in the grip of winter. Still reeling from his friend's death, Tom has dropped out and spends his days driving a snow plough.
His mother has yet another new baby and is nesting upstairs, increasingly lost in her own world. His father, Edward, retreats to his study and his diaries, unable to cope with his growing, unruly family.
There are so many brothers in the house that Tom has almost lost count, but Adam, who is only four, somehow can't be ignored. Their one sister - capable, dependable, formidable Megan - who used to run the show, has escaped to London and is finally living her own life.
But then come disturbing letters from home.
In this masterful, enthralling, and tender novel, which takes us from the silver rush in Northern Ontario in the early 1900s to London in the 60s, Mary Lawson gently reveals the intricacies and anguish of family life, the push and pull of responsibility and individual desire, the way we can face tragedy and, in time, hope to start again.