Published 2019, 354 pages
Finnie and Paddy have won the proverbial lottery when Paddy is invited to become partner in a law firm, and Finnie lands a job in the same village as a full time deacon. It seems too good to be true….
The couple has been married for a year when their fortunes take a drastic turn for the better, or so they think. Finnie keeps having wisps of doubts, trying to figure out how they’ve landed in such a cush setting. It’s hard to say too much about the story without giving away the plot. But early on, it turns out the couple has not been honest with each from the beginning. Both of them had lived in Canada for a time, but they never met there. However it was a connection when they first started dating that made them think they had something in common. From now on, whenever I hear that phrase my alarm bells will be going off.
The partnership’s location is a village called Simmerton, a place so dark it barely sees light on a cloudless day. It settles into a narrow valley between pine trees growing so thick it’s impossible to walk through them. The law firm consists of a married couple, Lovatt and Tuft Dudgeon, older lawyers who want Paddy to take on much of the work, and a couple of assistants. Maybe they want to retire, or just take it easy for a while in their golden years. Finnie’s deacon work will have a lot to do with a non-profit adoption agency the Dudgeons set up after Lovatt’s first wife and their two children died in a fire at the big house. It turns out Paddy himself is adopted so that most likely played into their choice for new partner.
Soon after they move into their new cottage Paddy and Finn and invited for dinner at the big house, although the real big house was the one that burned to the ground, and the Dudgeons live in a much smaller cottage on the property. As they walk up the drive that night Finnie is sure she sees someone stalking in the trees, but Paddy calms her fears. Just another barn owl or rabbit bustling about. But the dinner turns out to make a critical point in both of their lives and what comes after is anything but lucky.