A subtle, enthralling work, it envelops the bare necessities of living and dying with an evocative sense of social history and prevailing prejudices. Past and present are conveyed with an acute eye for the telling detail while all the characters are drawn with an emotional and intellectual complexity that renders them unpredictable and real. Well written, unerringly true and very moving, the book reveals Gale to be an unabashed romantic and a novelist of increasing accomplishment.

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