It’s the 1950s, and Lorrie is unimpressed when her family moves to the remote Scottish island where her grandad runs a whisky distillery. She befriends Sylvie, the shy girl next door: ‘The slightest smile from Sylvie was a fluffy elephant at the fair. It had to be won with a clear aim,’ writes Lorrie. Yet fun-loving Lorrie isn’t sure Sylvie’s is the friendship she wants to win. As the adults around them struggle to keep their lives on an even keel, the two young women are drawn into a series of events that leave the small town wondering who exactly Sylvie is and what strange gift she is hiding.
Readman’s feel for emotional nuance and flair for mixing strangeness with poignant detail make this long-awaited debut novel one to savour.