Wharton is the quintessential English town, home to a famous public school, sought after for its comfortable middle class values – and where three families live side by side, hiding their private terrors and desires... a teenage boy afraid to come out, a mother driven by OCD, a small child who won’t speak, a daughter leading a secret life, a guilty father waiting to leave.
But there is also their music teacher Jane, a thirty-something innocent at large, struggling with jealousy, out of step with her old religious certainties. An unspoken love affair begins, only to be blighted by Ellen, aged eleven, a knife scar running down her face, desperate to keep her father to herself.
The attempted suicide of a bullied teenager brings Wharton’s disturbing undercurrents to the surface and relationships of all kinds must be re-negotiated if they are to survive.
From the prize-winning author of All Desires Known, a subtle examination of romantic and family conflict that is both devastating and funny, while all the time reminding us of the ultimate triumph of goodness.