Ronnie, the story’s protagonist, suffers a series of losses. Her beloved father dies suddenly in an accident. Then, out of financial necessity, her mother sells the family’s remote mountain lodge in the Coast Mountains and they move to the nearby town of Shelter Bay. Adjusting to this new life proves difficult for Ronnie, her sister, and their mother, who becomes depressed and develops a drinking problem.
Cowan develops the characters in the story more fully than many writers for young adults, who tend to zero in on one issue or character. She evokes the isolation and beauty of the Coast Mountains, the rhythms of small-town life, and the events and mood of the late 1960s and early ’70s to create a rich story about a mysterious and violent incident and an unlikely criminal. mRb