KIERAN Elliott’s return to Evelyn Bay is confronting, challenging and confusing.
After years of living happily in Sydney – most recently with his girlfriend Mia and their baby daughter Audrey – Kieran is back in Tasmania to help his mother finish packing up a lifetime’s worth of everything that made the family’s house a home. Kieran’s father has advanced dementia and has been booked into a care facility, leaving Verity to prepare to face the future on her own.
Kieran’s reality is vastly different from that of his former schoolmates, almost all of whom have stayed in the area and feel absolutely no desire to leave. For most, little has changed in the time he’s spent away.
His best mate from childhood, Ash, is now dating their old friend Olivia, and the same neighbours stand chatting in the main street and cooing over “the Elliott boy’s” little Audrey.
The one exception is a new arrival, Bronte: a fine-art university student from Canberra who’s spending the holidays adding to her savings by working as a waitress in the bistro of the local pub. Bronte shares a cottage with Olivia – or, at least, she did.
Now her body has been found on the beach.
Even more distressingly, it appears she didn’t drown. Rather, the police are investigating an assumed homicide.
As their questioning escalates the case opens up wounds that are far from healed, causing Kieran, Ash and Olivia to revisit a hot and stormy summer an eternity ago that was both the best and the worst for all three then-teenagers and whose events have left permanent scars on the small community.
Regrets are replayed and recriminations swirl.
As more and more confidences are shattered, the group members starts to realise that their beliefs about the darkest period of their lives are not at all accurate.