Women on the block called Mac's sister Madeline a beauty, a 'real Princess Grace'.
But in spite of her height and mature body, to Mac, his sister never looked any different to other children.
Until one summer evening in 1960, when his cousin Buddy taunted him with the odd truth of their family: Madeline was not really Mac's sister, but his father's first wife.
A terrible accident had left her brain-damaged, with the intellect of a seven-year-old.
When his father remarried, Madeline became part of his new family, devotedly cared for by his second wife like one of their own children. In 2003, Mac, now a middle-aged doctor, attends the funeral of Buddy's son, killed in Iraq.
There, the divisions that drove two branches of their family apart are brought sharply into focus: on one side, belligerently liberal doves, on the other, defiantly patriotic hawks.
Also revealed is the impact of Madeline's tragedy on the family, how it has shaped and altered forever the boundaries of love.
In this moving story that follows one American family over several decades of wars fought on foreign soil, Jane Hamilton, with her usual humour and keen observation of family relationships, deftly explores notions of innocence and experience, loyalty and betrayal, sacrifice and devotion.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 352 pages
- Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
- Publication Date: 01/02/2008
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780552773676