In this haunting novel, echoing mystery play and fairy tale, a family is forced to confront the grievances and emotional confusions of their shared past. In the very dead of winter they assemble at a remote country cottage enveloped by snow. Ostensibly they are celebrating Christmas, but festivities are marred by the presence of Konrad, who is dying. Florence, his manipulative wife, views Konrad's imminent death with annoyance; their two grown-up children bear the scars of this imperfect union. At the heart of the novel is Sophia, Florence's unorthodox sister and their host, who seems able to stand aside from family combat, yet guards a secret that has relevance for them all. Here, with characteristic insight and compassion, Mary Hocking unravels different kinds of love and need.