Two worlds are intertwined in this hauntingly beautiful story as it moves from Toronto to the English moors and to Venice, Italy. The time frame shifts between present and past, linking the lives of a young Brontë scholar (a woman in the throes of a troubled love affair), a turn-of-the-century female balloonist, and an elusive explorer with the ghost – or the memory – of Emily Brontë. Urquhart reveals something about the act of artistic creation, the ways in which stories enter our lives, and about the cyclical nature of love throughout time. This is a novel of darkness and light, of intense weather and inner calm.
Urquhart's second novel (after The Whirlpool ) is a piercingly beautiful tale of obsession, adultery, murder, ghosts and the afterlife, told in sensuous prose. Ann Frear, an Emily Bronte scholar at a Toronto university, has an affair with married art historian Arthur Woodruff, who is obsessed with Tintoretto. When she discovers he's not interested in commitment, Ann flees to England and rents a cottage on the moors, where she imagines Heathcliff and Catherine roaming as in Bronte's Wuthering Heights . An English farmer rescues her from brokenhearted despair, and a final rendezvous with Arthur in Venice seals their doomed romance. This conventional plot is entwined with an otherworldly narrative about Arianna Ether (nee Polly Smith), a parachutist who is in love with treacherous fellow hot-air balloonist Jeremy Unger. When Arianna dies in a crash in 1900, she goes to heaven and meets the ghost of Emily Bronte, an opinionated chatterbox; their decades of spectral conversations eventually move into the present and intersect with Ann's tortured romance. Urquhart has fashioned an intoxicating fiction in which wind, light and weather are palpable presences, mirroring the characters' psychic energies and the moods of Mother Earth.