Desperate to salvage something from a disastrous year, Malorie rents a remote house on the Norfolk coast for Christmas. But once there, the strained silence between her and her daughter, Franny, feels louder than ever. Digging for decorations in the attic, she comes across the notebooks of the teenaged Marianne, who lived in the house years before. Though she knows she needs to focus on the present, Malorie finds herself inexorably drawn into the past...
Marianne lives in the Marsh House with her austere father, surrounded by unspoken truths and rumours. So when the glamorous Lafferty family move to the village, she succumbs easily to their charm. Dazzled by the beautiful Hilda and her dashing brother, Franklin, Marianne fails to see the danger that lurks beneath their bright façades...
As Malorie reads on, the boundaries between past and present begin to blur, in this haunting novel about family, obligation and deeply buried secrets.