Karakarook, like many small Australian country towns, has been left behind - they highway doesn't run through town anymore, the bank will soon close its branch, and any industries that supported the town have long gone. Many in the town are pinning their hopes on 'Heritage', which gives a reason for one half of the city partnership, Harley, to be there. She has come from Sydney to organise a museum. She also becomes involved in the fight over another heritage flash point - the old Bent Bridge.
Bent Bridge is the reason for the other city person to be in town. Douglas is the engineer tasked with organising the replacement of the bridge. Harley and Douglas have their stories told alternately with that of a third - Felicity, the flighty wife of the bank manager. All three are outsiders - not just in the sense that they have arrived in Karakarook from elsewhere, but they also don't quite belong in the society in which they live. Also, all three have been deeply marked by their backgrounds - Harley forever trying to live up to the expectations of her famous creative family; Douglas living in the shadow of a war hero father he never met; and Felicity trying to forget her humble background while clinging to youthful beauty. Grenville is a skilful enough writer to allude to the importance of these details, while not overburdening the reader with too much character history.Read more ›