Peter Martin, his wife Genevieve and their four children live on one side of Charnwood Forest. His parents, Dell and Mary, live on the other side. Nearby lives Peter's childhood friend Richie. However, they are not only separated by the forest, but by the ghost of a girl - Peter's sister Tara - who disappeared twenty years ago. Richie was Tara's boyfriend and he was suspected of her disappearance, and possible murder. However, one Christmas day, Tara suddenly turns up - looking almost the same as she did on the day she left, so long ago. This is the basic plot of this modern day fairy tale, which has a lot of interesting themes and questions. Do Tara's family and friends believe the story of what she claims happened to her? How do they heal the hurt and suspicion that Tara's loss caused among them?
Our book club came across this novel when we were looking for a Christmas read which not overly sentimental and a little different. Actually, this book is ideal for a book club read, with lots to discuss and an interesting array of characters. I also enjoyed the various quotes at the beginning of each chapter, which give the novel an air of mystery and fantasy.