'Timeless yet also telling an achingly familiar story to us here and now, this is an unforgettable tale of love and loss, triumph and tragedy.' -Karen Brooks, author of The Good Wife of Bath.
7 February, 1967.
Walls of flame reduce much of Tasmania to ash. Young schoolteacher Catherine Turner rushes to the Huon Valley to find her family's apple orchard destroyed, her childhood home in ruins and her brother dead. Despite her father's declaration that a woman will never run the orchard, Catherine resolves to rebuild the family business.
After five sons, Catherine's friend and neighbour, Annie Pearson, is overjoyed by the birth of a much longed for daughter. As Annie and her husband Dave work to repair the damage to their orchard, Dave's friend Mark pitches in, despite the fact that Annie wants him gone. Mark has moved his family to the valley to escape his life in Melbourne, but his wife has disappeared leaving chaos in her wake and their young son Charlie in Mark's care.
Catherine becomes fond of Charlie, whose strange upbringing has left him shy and withdrawn. However, the growing friendship between Mark and Catherine not only scandalises the small community but threatens a secret Annie is desperate to keep hidden.
Through natural disasters, personal calamities and the devastating collapse of the apple industry, Catherine, Annie and those they love battle to save their livelihoods, their families and their secrets.
About The Author
Mary-Lou Stephens was born in Tasmania, studied acting at The Victorian College of the Arts and played in bands in Melbourne, Hobart and Sydney. Eventually she got a proper job – in radio, where she was a presenter and music director, first with commercial radio and then with the ABC.
She received great reviews for her memoir Sex, Drugs and Meditation (Pan Macmillan, 2013), the true story of how meditation changed her life, saved her job and helped her find a husband.
Mary-Lou has worked and played all over Australia and now lives on the Sunshine Coast with her husband and a hive of killer native bees.