Oregon, 1925. Like his semi-reclusive parents, ten-year-old George Graham doesn’t have friends, preferring to live inside the safe and predictable world of his books. This all changes when his classmate Louise Pearson, new to town, befriends him. Curious about his family’s secrets, and with plenty of her own, the pair become an irrepressible, inseparable team, bantering and bickering their way through what turns out to be an unforgettable summer.
Louise’s quick brain puts together the scattered clues she and George scrounge up about his parents’ past. They discover that George’s dad has another family back in England—a wife and four daughters—and that he’s still sending them almost every penny he earns. Hoping for answers, Louise writes to the eldest of George’s half-sisters, Susan, never expecting Susan herself to turn up on the family doorstep unannounced. And all the long-held family secrets begin to unravel.
Argentina, 1951. For most people, World War Two has been over for six years, but it’s still a brutal reality for Leni Mayer, brought to Buenos Aires by a Nazi who took her captive in 1940 and never let her go. Lonely and despairing, she longs for a chance to return to England and be herself again.
Butterfly enthusiast Raymond Varela and his eight-year-old son Anton have come to Patagonia in an effort to start life afresh after the losses of the war years. Haunted by the death of his wife in a bombing raid in 1943, Raymond longs to let the peaceful wilderness heal him, but instead he faces chaos when a runaway Leni intrudes into their expedition.
As the months pass, Raymond and Leni’s perceptions of one another begin to shift, but the strength of their feelings will be tested when they return to Buenos Aires, where danger lurks around every corner, and sunshiny Anton, who brought them together, may be the very thing that drives them apart.
Eva was born in Jacksonville, Florida. She left that humidity pit at the age of three and spent the next twenty-one years in California, Idaho, Kentucky, and Washington before ending up in Oregon, where she now lives on a homestead in the western foothills with her husband and five children, two of whom are human.