There is an epic feeling to this story that you sense would have made it twice as long had it been written a century earlier. The echoes of the past are also strong because this is set in 1920s Ireland with a family facing upheaval as the country starts to turn on the hated English and burn the wealthy out of their homes.
The way Trevor writes a picturesque rural Ireland opens up to the reader and you find your self in the big house, down by the sea and watching the cows as they are herded into the milking shed.
But at the heart of this rural world things are not going well and as the Gault family prepares to pack up and leave for the safer shores of England the father and mother are left distraught after their daughter Lucy runs away to try to delay their departure.
Her clothes found on the beach indicate a drowning and so the heartbroken Gault parents head off on a tour of Europe running away from their grief. of course had they perhaps been more open with the reasons for leaving their daughter might have understood them more and been prepared to go with them.
As it is her disappearance rips the family apart and her reappearance sets things up for a fascinating second half.