Jennifer Johnston’s powerful novel of 1920s Ireland and one woman, on her deathbed, looking back on the tragic day that changed the course of her life
In northwest Ireland, eighteen-year-old Miranda Martin lives in a country estate home with her father. A recent widower, he spends his days consumed by a project to reforest their tranquil Donegal surroundings. Miranda, on the cusp of adulthood, spends her summer engrossed in a chaste but passionate courtship with a local boy named Cathal. Members of the Anglo-Irish class and the Protestant Ascendancy, Miranda and her father are sympathetic to the burgeoning movement for home rule. On the other side of the argument is Miranda’s brother, Andrew, a soldier in the British military during the First World War. On leave from service, Andrew has come home with his friend and fellow soldier, Harry. Their fateful visit, recalled by Miranda years later, is marked by tensions over the family’s disparate politics and culminates in a heartrending cataclysm foreshadowing what’s to come for Ireland in the twentieth century.