Retired Swedish doctor, Marion Flint, lives alone on the wild west coast of New Zealand's North Island. One day she meets a small boy, Ika, on the empty, rugged beach, and an unlikely friendship develops between the two. Ika's withdrawn nature and fear of being touched arouse strong feelings of compassion in Marion and, as she becomes more involved in his life, long-suppressed memories of her own traumatic past surface. This is a beautiful, but shocking, story with several twists and turns in the plot that take the reader by surprise. The only thing I didn't like about this book was its title, which initially put me off reading it. Had it not been up for discussion in my bookclub, I would have overlooked this gem.