In the summer of 1979, a tamed grizzly bear is tempted by the lure of freedom and the wild open sea ...Meanwhile, the sudden death of British diplomat Nicky Fleming has left his wife closed down with shock. Relocated from Cold-War-riven Germany to a remote Hebridean island, Letty Fleming is haunted by the unthinkable -- was it an accident, murder ...
In the summer of 1979, a tamed grizzly bear is tempted by the lure of freedom and the wild open sea ...Meanwhile, the sudden death of British diplomat Nicky Fleming has left his wife closed down with shock. Relocated from Cold-War-riven Germany to a remote Hebridean island, Letty Fleming is haunted by the unthinkable -- was it an accident, murder or suicide? And how can she ever begin to explain to her three children that their father may have betrayed his country? Struggling to find solace in a place she loves, Letty begins to unravel the mystery of Nicky's death, but her determination to protect the children from the truth blinds her to the demons they are already battling. As the family's secrets threaten to tear them apart, it is only the strange but brilliant Jamie who manages to hold on to the one thing he knows for sure: his father has promised to return, and Nicky Fleming was a man who never broke a promise ...
Publishers Weekly, 2011-02-28 The Fleming family, having lost father and husband Nicky, a cold war-era British diplomat, in a mysterious accident early in this satisfying novel (after Midnight Cactus), leaves the embassy at Bonn for refuge in Scotland's Outer Hebrides. There they begin parallel lives, dealing with their grief separately and stumblingly as a number of threats to the family slowly mount. Of the children, Jamie, the youngest, wildly imaginative and cosseted by grownups, is forced to make his own sense of his father's disappearance; acerbic Alba is overcome with anger; and quiet, dutiful Georgie is simply set adrift. Then there's Letty, their mother, who retreats almost entirely as her grief becomes increasingly painful and she is forced to confront new and disturbing possibilities about her husband, namely, that he may have been involved in treasonous activities. The drama intensifies as an escaped bear haunts the narrative periphery and the Flemings' home becomes threatened by government development projects. Everything comes together, perhaps too neatly, but the real draw is Pollen's show-stealing, fantastic portrayal of the underparented children. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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