Sisters Alice and Natalie were once close, but adolescence has wrenched them apart. Alice loves books and birds in equal measure, and spends her summer holidays frowning into volumes of poetry, with an ear out for unusual birdcalls. Her older sister, Natalie, the beautiful one, is sexy and manipulative, effortlessly captivating men.
On their lakeside family holiday, Alice falls under the thrall of the supremely talented, enigmatic next-door-neighbour, a struggling young painter. Thomas seems wild and dangerous but to Alice, he is gentle, wise and kind - really listening to her hopes and dreams in a way that no-one has ever done before.
Natalie remains aloof, and seems strangely unmoved by the charismatic stranger in their midst. She tolerates the family sittings for the portrait Thomas is painting with a barely disguised distaste. But as the family portrait nears completion, the family dynamics shift irrevocably. And by the end of the summer, three lives are shattered.
A haunting debut of love in all its forms, The Gravity of Birds perfectly captures the devastating consequences betrayal can have through the decades, echoing right through to the present day.