A dazzling debut novel about redemption, war, and the ties that hold families together
It is 1957 and—after the death of her husband—pianist Ilona Talivaldis and her nine-year-old daughter Zidra travel to the remote coastal town of Jingera in New South Wales. Ilona, a concentration camp survivor from Latvia, is searching for peace and an opportunity to start anew. In her beautiful vine-covered cottage on the edge of the lagoon, she plans to set herself up as a piano teacher. The weeks pass, and slowly mother and daughter get to know the townsfolk—including kind-hearted butcher George Cadwallader who is forever gazing at the stars; his son Jim, a boy wise beyond his years; Peter Vincent, a former wartime pilot and POW; and Cherry Bates, the publican's wife who is about to make a horrifying discovery. It's quickly apparent that Jingera is not quite the utopia Ilona imagined it to be—a discovery that may force her to risk the one thing she holds dear.