Harry Cane marries Winnie after his brother Jack introduces them. It seems more of a convenience relationship than romance but they soon have a daughter together and settle down. It seems that Harry would not have been Winnie’s first choice of husband, but they are good friends and it seems to work. It isn’t too surprising when Harry starts having an affair, but he gets caught and has to flee his new family to stop the truth getting out.
Harry moves from Edwardian England to take on a homestead in Canada. He changes considerably there; from rich to almost poor, from unskilled to skilled and from a big family to having nobody but himself to rely on. This new life seems to suit him well however, and he makes friends with those living on a local farm which is when the story really starts to get interesting. The way Harry develops through the story had me completely taken in.
Patrick Gale has written a sweeping, romantic, heartbreaking story that has left me feeling empty now it is over. I’m so glad I can read this book over and over again. It was easy to imagine the various settings Harry found himself in as the words flowed so easily. The book envelops you in Harry’s emotions; the hard graft and loneliness of starting afresh, the love for his neighbours, disgrace, disappointment, betrayal, loyalty, pride, the devastation of war….