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In the follow up to her acclaimed novel Shelter, Sarah Franklin returns to the Forest of Dean, this time exploring what it means to belong to a rural community in a rapidly changing world.
Jo grew up in the Forest of Dean, but she was always the one destined to leave for a bigger, brighter future. When her parents retire from their butcher's shop, she returns to her beloved community to save the family legacy, hoping also to save herself. But things are more complex than the rose-tinted version of life which sustained Jo from afar.
Tessa is a farrier, shoeing horses two miles and half a generation away from Jo, further into the forest. Tessa's experience of the community couldn't be more different. Now she too has returned, in flight from a life she could have led, nursing a secret and a past filled with guilt and shame.
Compelled through circumstance to live together, these two women will be forced to confront their sense of identity, and reconsider the meaning of home.
'In this insightful, thoughtful novel about a farrier and a butcher, Franklin explores the meaning of home and the importance of belonging. It's replete with gorgeous descriptions of forest life' - Carys Bray
'Sarah writes intimately about the forest and the lives it sustains, exploring the human condition with forensic tenderness; we feel every step of Tessa and Jo's journeys. It's a big-hearted novel about how we learn to belong despite ourselves, and I relished every word ' - Shelley Harris
'Thoughtful, and fresh, and such a vibrant setting. The place feels completely alive - I can walk through it and practically smell those horses, that forest, the butcher's shop, the woodsmoke. And the wider community is also wonderfully colourful and alive. It's just a pleasure to read!' - Lucy Atkins