Maggie Thame is a cartographer who takes a cottage in a remote coastal village in the Highlands of Scotland.
She lives simply, shuns company, and tries to keep memory at bay. But gradually and reluctantly she is drawn into the life of the village; she is befriended by a local boy, Trothan, and they form an emotional bond. All the while, Maggie’s own terrible memories are seeping back. This is a stark, atmospheric novel, with a strong sense of place: the wheeling sea birds, the endless ocean, and the drama of the big sky are all powerfully evoked, as is the sense of a small community where everyone knows everyone else’s secrets. It feels like the sort of place where the legend of the selkie – seals that take on human form – might just be true.