This novel entices the reader into the storyline from the first few pages. The plot-line is very strong and the high standard of story-telling remains throughout. The main character Ruth leads the story, telling us of her fresh start with her husband Michael in their new house in an isolated area of a Scottish Island. Ruth is also re-living a childhood trauma she suffered with the move causing her to have flashbacks. The move to the house quickly invokes its own dilemma for Ruth and Michael when they find a body buried inside the house. This provokes a third historical timeline, the story where a young curate takes over the house on the remote island. This timeline vividly explores religious righteousness, forbidden lusts, tyrant landlords, myths and scientific discoveries.
The place settings within this novel were pivotal to the storyline and the description of these helped keep the storyline moving. Gifford truly brought to life the loneliness and isolation of Island life, however she also managed to represent the sense of community gained from isolated island living, not an easy combination to represent.
A superbly crafted story, I look forward to the next one.