Stephanie chose to lie to her parents and run away with her teacher when she was fifteen and hasn’t talked honestly about it since. Now he’s being released from prison years earlier than planned. She moves back home after a rough few weeks but Ros (her mum) doesn’t want to break the news whilst her daughter is fragile. Her own life was just about setting and she wants to keep that sense of calm for as long as possible.
The book is told from Rosalind’s point of view and includes flashbacks to her daughter’s disappearance. She was devastated by what happened and family relationships have been changed dramatically since then. Now that he’s being released and Stephanie is home Ros is worried about the future. What will Stephanie do? Does she want to see him, or does she want to move on? Will she tell the truth or keep her feelings hidden like she has in the years since he was arrested?
I struggled to empathise with Ros. She seemed overly anxious before her daughter ran off and I wanted her to be a stronger person. She went through a terrible event, but her reaction was frowned upon even by her own family when her anxiety didn’t settle. It felt like she took the attention away from her daughter when she needed things to return to normal.
The story is quite a slow burner for the first half but picks up for the final third of the book. I wasn’t convinced by the female characters and was left wanting more from the ending. It was a good representation of life after a traumatic event and covered the various relationships within the family well.
I received this book directly from the publisher.