Ellie is fourteen and living with her mother at the Woburn hostels in Lower Hutt when the novel opens. There is much she doesn't understand - about men and love and sex, especially. She begins her journey into adulthood alert to its disappointments but also finding talents and passions - and enough love - to sustain and enrich her in unexpected ways. As the story progresses Ellie comes to understand and eventually make peace with her shadow man.
This book moves between the worlds of adolescence and adulthood, between art and domesticity, suburban Wellington and rural Nelson. This richly textured and constantly surprising evocation of one woman's life displays the award-winning Maurice Gee at the height of his powers.