In 1914, three eleven-year-old girls buried a box in a thicket on the coast of England, shortly before World War I sent their lives on divergent paths. Nearly fifty years later, a series of mysteriously-worded classified ads brings the women reluctantly together again. Dinah has grown from a chubby, bossy girl to a beautiful, eccentric widow. The clever, reticent Clare has blossomed into an imperious entrepreneur of independent means. And Sheila—who was once the pretty princess of her small universe—has weathered disappointed aspirations to become a chic and glossily correct housewife.
As these radically different women confront one another and their shared secrets, the hard-won complacencies of their present selves are irrevocably shattered. In a novel as subtle and compelling as a mystery, Elizabeth Bowen explores the buried revelations—and the dangers—that attend the summoning up of childhood and the long-concealed scars of the past.
About the Author
Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), an Anglo-Irish novelist, essayist, and short story writer, was born in Dublin. Her family spent winters in Dublin and summers in Bowen's Court, their ancestral home in County Cork. At the age of seven Bowen moved to England, where she married Alan Cameron in 1923. The couple divided their time between London, where Cameron held a position at the BBC, and Bowen's Court. Bowen's first book, "Encounters" (1923), was followed by several further collections of short stories and nine novels, including "The Hotel" (1927), "The Last September" (1929), "Friends and Relations" (1931), "To the North" (1932), "The Death of the Heart" (1938), and "The Heat of the Day" (1949), a tale of espionage set in London during World War II. An ardent supporter of the British war effort, Bowen volunteered her services to the British Ministry of Information during World War II, and was commissioned as an undercover agent to investigate whether the Irish public was wavering in its support for Irish neutrality. Elizabeth Bowen was awarded the CBE in 1948 and made a Companion of Literature by the Royal Society of Literature in 1965. Her last novel, "Eva Trout "(1968), won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.
“Triumphant . . . the funniest of Miss Bowen’s novels.” —The Times (London)
“This story is poetic in its awareness, its stimulus, its beauty of writing; and as full of clues, hints and half-revealed secrets as any thriller.” —The Scotsman (Edinburgh)
“Bowen so thoroughly knows the world she is writing about that she contrives to appear to convey it to us whole. Her fictional insight is made solid by sound psychological insight.” –The New York Times