This is a story of Theresa Breslin’s love affair with the sea wrapped around the story of Saskia’s voyage of discovery into her past and thereby into her future. Saskia is in transition; it is her gap year and going to stay with her great-aunt in a small fishing community in the north-east of Scotland seems like a good idea. Mystery surrounds Aunt Alessandra and her house with the staring windows, perched on the edge of a rocky escarpment. As the days go on Saskia comes to understand things hidden in her own head, in the minds of her father and her aunt and in the strange old house.
Saskia is escaping from disagreements between her parents and her father’s persuasive insistence that she study economics instead of marine biology. As she grows closer to her aunt and talks to the handsome Ben who is researching sea life in the locality, Saskia comprehends her maritime ancestry and the lure which water has for her. The sea permeates the story; it is there as a backdrop, in its effect on characters and in an underlying plea for conservation of fishing grounds. The interpolation of occasional paragraphs describing the life cycle of fish and the chapter headings, each relating to one of the 33 lighthouses around the coast of Britain, underlines themes of maturing and journey in a sensitive, finely structured novel which unfolds as delicately as a ‘creamy purl of foam at the water’s edge’.