‘So, is it a girl or a boy, and how old?’ Jonathan asked as soon as we were alone in the shop.
My husband knew from the animated look on my face, and the way I was itching to talk to him, that our social worker had been asking us to look after another child.
I filled Jonathan in as quickly as I could and he gave a thin, sad smile.
‘Bruises?’ he said. ‘And a moody temperament? Poor little girl. Of course we can manage a few days.’
I gave Jonathan a kiss on the cheek. ‘I knew you’d say that. It’s exactly what I thought.’
We were well aware that the few days could run into weeks or even longer, but we didn’t need to discuss this. We’d looked after dozens of children who had arrived like Maria, emotionally or physically damaged, or both. We’d do whatever it took to make her feel loved and cared for while she was in our home.
Seven-year-old Maria holds lots of secrets. Why won’t she tell how she got the bruises on her body? Why does she run and hide? And why does she so want to please her sinister stepfather?
It takes years for devoted foster carer Angela Hart to uncover the truth as she helps Maria leave the ghosts of her past behind.