The Harrison family gathers as usual for Christmas in their big Sussex house - a tight safe world of festivity and family ritual. This year, however, outside realities are pressing hard: Pamela and John, married for four decades, know that time is catching up with them. And trouble is brewing in the lives of their four children. Cassie, the cossetted youngest, is in the throes of an affair with a married man; Elizabeth, her awkward older sister, is struggling with a faltering second marriage; Peter, the eldest and designated inheritor of Ashley House, is beginning to meet resistance to such a prospect from his career-orientated wife. Only Charlie, the charming and carefree younger son, and his wife Serena, seem truly content, with nothing to worry about except their adolescent twin girls and the simpler teething troubles of their toddler.
Everywhere the scent of change is in the air. Yet, change, when it comes, strikes in the form of a tragedy of the most unforeseeable and devastating kind. The family, so apparently secure, begins to unravel. And secrets, past and present, are exposed, laying bare the fragility of human happiness and the myriad faces of love in an imperfect world.
'This book, about deep and complex family love from this accomplished author, is told with true passion.' - Family Circle
'Brilliant new novel . . . Few contemporary British novelists writing today explore the messy tangles of close human relationships with quite such warm perceptiveness as Brookfield' - Henry Sutton, Mirror on Sisters and Husbands
'Superb in its minute observation' - Northern Echo on The Lover
'I savored every second of this deeply satisfying book. Amanda Brookfield goes from strength to strength. Her best yet. Treat yourself' - Patricia Scanlan on Sisters and Husbands
'The novel walks a line between comedy and wrenching sadness. It is fluently written and its depiction of domestic chaos and a man's bewilderment when unexpectedly faced with a young son's needs is all too recognisable' - Elizabeth Buchan, The Sunday Times on A Family Man
'Witty and engaging' - Family Circle on Single Lives
Amanda Brookfield gained a First Class Honours Degree from Oxford before working at an advertising agency for several years. She wrote her first novel while living in Buenos Aires with her diplomat husband, and her second while in Washington, D.C. She has two young sons and now lives in London and divides her time between writing fiction and looking after her family.