From the author of The Rope Walk, the story of a woman’s life in its twilight, as she looks back on both a harrowing childhood and the unaccountable love and happiness that emerged from it.
Ruth has always stood firmly beside her upstanding, brilliant husband, Peter, the legendary chief of the Derry School for boys. The childless couple has a unique, passionate bond which grew out of Ruth’s arrival on his family doorstep as a young girl orphaned by tragedy. And though sometimes frustrated by her role as lifelong helpmeet, Ruth is awed by her good fortune in Peter.
As the novel opens we see the Derry School in all its glorious New England fall colors and witness the loosening of the aging Peter’s grasp – he will soon have to retire, and Ruth is wondering what they will do in their old age, separated from the school into which they have poured everything, including their savings. As the novel unfurls, it takes us back through their days and years, revealing the explosive spark and joy of their love – undiminished now in their 70s – and giving us a deeply felt portrait of a woman from the generation that quietly put individual dreams aside for the good of a partnership, twinned with the revelation of the surprising gift of the right man’s love, which keeps giving to the end.