Having first read Joanna Briscoe when I reviewed her most recent novel Touched I knew I had found a writer whose writing utterly enthralled me and I had to discover her back catalogue so I picked up this novel from 2011. The story is told by mother and daughter Dora and Cecilia in two periods; the 1970s when Cecilia was growing up the second child in Dora and her husband Patrick's chaotic bohemian household with damp walls, hippy lodgers, music, books and running wild on the moors, and now as Cecilia returns to the moors with her own family after years in London to look after her mother who is ill. This book drew me in from the first line "IT'S HAUNTED, she thought" this is Cecilia returning to her childhood home and finding that her past is here waiting for her. She has been estranged from her mother and she needs answers. Dora meanwhile is feeling vulnerable delighted that her daughter has returned and that she will have time with her grandchildren she is also keeping secrets and the guilt like her cancer is eating her up. Both women have had a devastating love affair that they have kept secret and they are more alike than they would care to admit. I said in my previous review that Joanna Briscoe "takes a scalpel to humanity and shows us the human heart in all its darkness and glory. " (July 3rd Review of Touched )
I second that now and this book is even better than Touched. If you haven't read her before get your hands on her work right now she is a writer of amazing talent.