Paul and Johnnie are born twelve years apart, in a one-bedroom flat in Barking. Their ascent to money and power looks easy from a distance, but it burns those who get too close. When Paul marries Louise, Johnnie is part of the contract, while their daughter, Anna, is tangled in it from birth. Paul deals in the development of contaminated land; self-destructive, seductive Johnnie deals in crime. When Johnnie has to get out of the country, Louise goes with him. This has been her story, too, an almost Dickensian one, and she's going to tell it in all its crookedness, force and tenderness.
'Helen Dunmore's novels are gorgeous, brutally sensuous and disturbing. Springing from a poet's sensibility and vision, they ravish the reader... Rich, tense, tragic and almost unbearable reading.'
Elizabeth Buchan, The Times