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A compelling novel of complicated love, from one of Ireland’s greatest living writers.

It is the Second World War, and tragedy strikes many families in Ireland. But it is also a thrilling time in which to be a child and Polly, spending months at her grandparents’ house by the sea, barely notices the adults’ grief and their efforts to escape the tyranny of religion and family expectation. However, in time Polly too will have a secret. No one else knows the location of her beloved uncle, Sam, barely older than Polly herself, who is meant to be in Cambridge but is dreaming of Communist Cuba, while his decimated family fears losing another son. And, as Polly shyly approaches womanhood, her love for Sam turns into something more explosive.

Reviews

Her writing is a joy: dialogue snaps with life while Johnston's distinctive prose is at once supremely comfortable and delightfully brisk
Daily Mail
Roddy Doyle called Johnston the best writer in Ireland. Mesmerising, powerful fiction
Red
Has many pleasures to offer the reader: elegance of style, sureness of touch, and above all the author's radiant descriptive gift
Independent
Compelling and very beautiful
Spectator