What binds families together? What drives them apart?
These are questions investment banker Alex Wold starts pondering when, on his way back from a meeting one day, he finds himself standing up to his waist in water in the Thames, trying to guide a lost bottlenose whale back out to the sea. Later, as he's drying out his suit and shoes, the news comes through that Tony Nolan, his parents’ wealthy neighbour – and his mother’s ex-husband – has died of a sudden heart attack.
Alex wonders if the universe is urging him to resolve a long-running feud with his environmentalist brother Matthew, and with the Wolds and the Nolans all heading back to Warwickshire for Tony’s funeral he now has an opportunity to do just that. Unfortunately he finds Matthew as angry and obstreperous as ever. Most concerning is his continued obsession with Caitlin Nolan, Tony’s daughter, the teenage sweetheart who dumped him after he left school, driving him to drop out of university.
Fifteen years on, and Matthew has not been able to let Caitlin go. But Caitlin has other things than Matthew on her mind: her father’s death, her problematic relationship with her mother, her raging cocaine addiction, and the sudden appearance of the black sheep of the Nolan clan, her half-brother Jamie, whom she has not seen since, well since around the time she started dating Matthew.
And then Caitlin does something that forces both families to take an uncomfortable journey back into their past.
What actually happened between Caitlin and Matthew? Why exactly did Jamie fall out with his father and run off to South America? And what is really at the heart of Matthew’s hatred of his brother?
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